No Evidence Of Misconduct

Independent investigators have found no evidence of misconduct against a chief constable, it has been announced.

The Sussex Police Authority voluntarily referred the anonymous allegation against Sussex Police chief constable Martin Richards to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in June.

Details of the incident were not released by the force but it is believed Mr Richards was being investigated over claims he used "undue influence'' on a force operation.

The complaint was made about him by a member of staff using the force's anonymous internal reporting system, it was claimed.

Today the IPCC said it had concluded that there was "no case to answer''.

It said in a statement: "An independent investigation into an anonymous allegation against the chief constable of Sussex Police found no case to answer for misconduct.

"The IPCC launched an investigation on 15 June following a referral from Sussex Police Authority in relation to an allegation Martin Richards used undue influence regarding an operational policing issue.

"The report concluded there was no case to answer regarding the anonymous allegation which remained uncorroborated despite independent investigators seeking to encourage the source of the allegation to make contact with the IPCC.''

Sussex Police said Mr Richards, who has been chief constable of Sussex since 2007, "welcomed'' the scrutiny of the IPCC and had provided his "full support'' to the inquiry.

A police statement said: "In June, Sussex Police Authority voluntarily referred an anonymous allegation of misconduct against the chief constable Martin Richards to the IPCC.

"The independent investigation conducted by the IPCC following the referral has now concluded.

"The investigation found no evidence to support the allegation and the IPCC's report concludes that there is no case to answer.

"Sussex Police Authority, by its Professional Standards Committee, considered the IPCC's report and, in line with the IPCC's findings, has endorsed this conclusion.

"Sussex Police understands the importance of maintaining public confidence in the integrity of any of its officers.

"The chief constable has welcomed the independent scrutiny of the IPCC in investigating this allegation from the outset and has provided his full support to the investigation throughout.''

The force said Mr Richards was leading it through a programme of major change "that will modernise the force as well as make significant savings''.

Savings of £30 million have been made so far against an overall target of £50 million by 2015.

The force said that during Mr Richards' tenure at Sussex Police, crime has fallen year on year, with a reduction of more than 5% this year.

The statement said: "The force will make radical changes to the way it operates, to become more open and accountable to the public, less bureaucratic and will give its officers and staff greater discretion.

"Sussex Police is investing in the tools they will need to meet the policing challenges of the future, making use of technology that is now available.''