Paul Whitehouse, 55, the highly respected head of Sussex Police, is now almost certain to face disciplinary action with his deputy, Mark Jordan, 40, in a case involving an unprecedented number of senior officers. Mr Jordan was suspended last month. Sussex police authority is still considering the case of an Assistant Chief Constable, Nigel Yeo.
The officers are understood to face disciplinary charges relating to providing misleading and inaccurate information. Their suspensions follow two inquiries into the death of James Ashley, 39, who was shot in the chest by PC Chris Sherwood during a raid in January last year at his flat in Hastings, East Sussex. Mr Ashley was unarmed and had been in bed with a girlfriend. The Director of Public Prosecutions is considering whether to charge PC Sherwood with murder. The morning after the incident Mr Whitehouse said that the officers had been investigating drug trafficking and the attempted murder of a man stabbed outside a pub. He said that the man they were after was considered "armed and dangerous". It later emerged that Mr Ashley, far from being a murder suspect, had pulled the assailant off the victim and may have saved a life.
An inquiry last year by Hampshire police examined how the inaccurate and damaging information came to be broadcast. A statement yesterday by Sussex police authority said: "The authority has resolved that disciplinary proceedings need be taken against ... Paul Whitehouse and ... Mark Jordan."
The Police Complaints Authority has been asked to approve the suspension.