Police chief suspended over assault claims

ONE OF the country's most senior police officers has been suspended after accusations of "harassment and assault", it was announced yesterday.

Ian Beckett, 52, the Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey, was suspended on Thursday at the end of an emergency police authority meeting, which has set up an inquiry into the matter. The allegations were made earlier in the week by an employee. Mr Beckett is the most senior officer to be suspended in response to allegations of harassment.

The police force refused to disclose whether the claims included allegations of sexual harassment and if they had been made by a police officer or member of the civilian staff.

A statement by Surrey Police Authority said that the suspension had taken place with "immediate effect".

It added: "The Surrey Police Authority and Chief Constable of Surrey Ian Blair regard this matter as extremely serious and have responded so quickly to the allegations because, whilst not prejudicing the outcome of any investigation, they remain committed to fairness and respect in the workplace."

An investigation will be carried out by City of London Police under supervision by the independent Police Complaints Authority. The PCA said yesterday it had agreed to the suspension. A spokesman added: "We would hope to complete our investigations within 120 days but I do not know how complex this case is going to be."

Mr Beckett was said to have left Surrey Police headquarters in Guildford yesterday morning before news of his suspension was made public.

He has been in the police service for 33 years and joined Surrey from the Metropolitan Police in 1991 as the assistant chief constable, rising to the deputy's job in 1994.

As a chief inspector in the Metropolitan Police, he was the commander of the raid on the home of Dorothy Groce in which she was shot and which sparked the Brixton riots of 1985.

Mr Beckett was awarded the Queen's Police Medal in 1997. He is the latest senior police officer to be suspended and investigated after allegations of wrongdoing.

Frank Wilkinson, the Chief Constable of Gwent, has been suspended for more than a year after allegations were made surrounding the issue of a speeding ticket to a prominent councillor and the award of contracts.

The Police Complaints Authority warned in their annual report last June about the increasing number of complaints being made by women accusing police officers of sexual harassment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office and Customer Services Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small but very busy (and f...

Recruitment Genius: Portfolio Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer - Midlands

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Recruitment Genius: Sales / Account Manager

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales / Account Manager is re...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot