Police chief in Soham case quits over harassment claim

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The Independent Online

A chief constable has resigned over claims he sexually harassed a woman during a five-hour drinking session at a police conference.

A chief constable has resigned over claims he sexually harassed a woman during a five-hour drinking session at a police conference.

Tom Lloyd, the head of Cambridgeshire Police, had already weathered heavy criticism for the force's handling of the investigation of the Soham murders.

But this week he was forced to apologise following allegations that he became "extremely drunk" and pestered a female official at the Association of Chief Police Officers' conference in Birmingham.

It was claimed Mr Lloyd had ogled and made a series of "inappropriate remarks" to the unnamed woman, who is in her thirties. These were said to have included proposing they go to a bedroom together and other "suggestive comments".

Mr Lloyd, 53, a married father of four, said in a statement yesterday he recognised that his "integrity, professionalism and commitment must be beyond reproach". He added: "I deeply regret that a moment of foolishness may have caused some to question my integrity ... However ill-founded or exaggerated the reporting, I recognise that I gave cause for concern to those present.

"The subsequent media attention has damaged my reputation, and I feel honour-bound to step down before endangering the reputation of the constabulary that I have been proud to lead for the last three years."

Mr Lloyd was appointed deputy chief constable of Cambridgeshire Police in 2000 and was promoted to chief constable two years later. The same year, the force undertook one of the biggest investigations in its history when the Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman vanished. He was criticised for not cutting short a family holiday to France during the massive hunt for the girls.

Cambridgeshire Police was attacked for missing clues that pointed to their killer, Ian Huntley, and for making "serious errors" in its vetting procedures that allowed him to get a job working with children.

The force, among the smallest in the country and a candidate for merger in a planned overhaul of the police, has received lukewarm inspection reports.

Michael Williamson, chairman of the Cambridgeshire Police Authority, said: "The authority would like to make it clear that, despite media speculation, no formal complaint has been made against Mr Lloyd and the decision is a personal one which we respect and support."

A police spokesman said: "There are no issues between Tom Lloyd and the unnamed official."