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Police Chief Innocent But Faces Further Accusations

Surrey's deputy chief constable was cleared last Friday of indecently assaulting two women colleagues.

Ian Beckett was alleged to have kissed and fondled the women at the police force headquarters in Guildford during December 1998, believing they would never report him because of his senior position.

But the 54-year-old father of two - suspended on full pay in January last year - always insisted he was innocent and the allegations were lies and fantasy.

However, on Monday Surrey Police Authority said Mr Beckett would remain suspended from duty.

This is due to outstanding allegations of sexual harassment against three other women, discovered by the Commissioner of City of London police, Perry Nove, during an investigation into Beckett's behaviour. He recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Mr Beckett on allegations of sexual harassment in relation to five women.

The Crown Prosecution Service subsequently decided to prosecute Mr Beckett on four charges of indecent assault in relation to two of these women.

The Senior Personnel Committee of the Police Authority will meet again today (Thursday) to decide whether it will take further action against Beckett.

It was revealed last week that Beckett made a suicide bid in March this year, just before the trial was scheduled to begin.

Mr Beckett, who has been a police officer for 35 years, was found in a coma after taking an overdose.

At London's Southwark Crown Court, Mr Beckett of Lyne, Chertsey, was cleared of twice indecently assaulting Miss X, a 51-year-old married secretary and a further two charges of indecently assaulting Miss Y, a personal assistant.

Outside court Mr Beckett's solicitor read a prepared statement: "My family and I are relieved the right verdict has been reached in a case which has caused us enormous trauma. I now ask to be to be allowed to return to the privacy and dignity of my family life.

"And of course I look forward to returning to the Surrey Police Service as its deputy chief constable."

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