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Hampshire Constabulary's chief constable Andy Marsh being investigated over Stanbridge Earls
HAMPSHIRE’S top police officer is under investigation over the inquiry surrounding a school hit by sex abuse claims, the Daily Echo can reveal.
The Chief Constable of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Andy Marsh, is facing a police probe from a separate force amid breach of confidentiality and contempt of court claims.
The complaints are in connection to the police investigation surrounding the troubled Romsey-based school Stanbridge Earls, which is at the centre of sex-abuse allegations.
The inquiry is being carried out on behalf of Hampshire’s Police Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes.
It is understood that it is the first time that a UK Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) has ordered an investigation of its own chief constable.
A spokesman for Hampshire’s PCC office said: “We are able to confirm that the commissioner has received a formal complaint in connection with the Stanbridge Earls School investigation.
“The allegations made are now being investigated by another police force on behalf of the commissioner and it would be entirely inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
A Hampshire police spokesman said: “We are aware of the complaint which is being handled by the office of the police and crime commissioner.”
The Daily Echo understands that the matters under investigation relate to allegations of contempt of court and breach of confidentiality in connection with the inquiry over the school.
However, the PCC has refused to reveal further details of the complaints and declined to say which police force was carrying out the investigation.
As previously reported, a Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal earlier this year found that the £39,000-a-year school had discriminated against a girl and that staff members failed to tell the youngster’s parents that she had complained of pain in an intimate part of her body.
The tribunal found that a vulnerable youngster had suffered “appalling abuse” at the hands of another student, while the school was slammed by panel members for being “unsystematic, unprofessional, ad hoc and completely inadequate” when it came to protecting the youngster, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
A police investigation called Operation Flamborough has already been set up to probe allegations made by two former pupils.
This investigation includes an internal inquiry into whether police involved in previous investigations into sex abuse claims at the school should be disciplined.
Andy Marsh was appointed in January this year to take over as chief constable from Alex Marshall, who left to become head of the new national college of policing.
Mr Marsh joined Hampshire Constabulary as deputy chief constable in July 2010. He started his career with Avon and Somerset Police before transferring to Wiltshire Police as an assistant chief constable in 2007.