A former police inspector has admitted 17 charges of misconduct in a public office relating to strip searches at six police stations in Hampshire.

Gerard Hutchings, of Ashurst, New Forest, appeared before Bristol Crown Court by video link on Friday morning and pleaded guilty to the charges, dating between October 1999 and April 2007.

He denied 12 charges – one of misconduct in a public office, five of indecent assault, four of causing a male to engage in non-penetrative sexual activity and two of attempting to cause a male to engage in sexual activity.

Charges allege that Hutchings improperly caused the 18 complainants – some aged 17 at the time – to take their clothes off and move their genitals “when purporting to conduct a strip search”.

The offences are said to have taken place at police stations in Aldershot, Yateley, Farnborough, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Ringwood when Hutchings, now 64, was serving as an inspector with Hampshire police.

Judge Peter Blair KC, the Recorder of Bristol, listed a three-week trial for the 12 charges denied by Hutchings, which is due to take place on January 20 2025.

The judge said a further case management hearing would take place at Bristol Crown Court on April 8 this year.

Richard Posner appeared for the prosecution during the hearing, while Irshad Sheikh represented Hutchings.

Hutchings appeared via video link and spoke to confirm his name, address and date of birth and enter his pleas to the charges against him.

Hampshire Police previously said the complainants were aged between 17 and 31 at the time of the alleged incidents.

It confirmed that Hutchings had left the force in 2007, with an investigation launched in 2021 following reports about his alleged offending.