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Police chief 'shocked by probe'

A police chief has expressed shock at being investigated by the police watchdog over the way his force handled allegations of sexual abuse.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating Wiltshire Police chief constable Patrick Geenty, as well as an inspector and detective constable, in relation to the way the force dealt with complaints about a sexual abuse investigation in 2008 and 2009.

It is alleged Mr Geenty, the then-assistant chief constable, the inspector and detective constable withheld information from the original complainants about the extent of the force's failings in dealing with the sexual abuse claims.

Mr Geenty said: "I am shocked by the allegation that I attempted to mislead a complainant.

"I welcome an open and transparent investigation and the public deserve no less.

"The IPCC is there to investigate complaints independently and hold Chief Constables to account.

"I expect my actions to be reviewed and scrutinised.

"I am committed to serving the people of Wiltshire and protecting children and vulnerable people.

"It is vital that we listen to complaints and learn from them."

The IPCC is now independently investigating three chief constables - Greater Manchester Police's Peter Fahy, Nick Gargan at Avon and Somerset Police, and Mr Geenty.

Another two chief constables - Suzette Davenport from Gloucestershire and Adrian Lee from Northamptonshire - are under investigation as part of an inquiry into witness handling in the case of the ''execution-style'' murder of 20-year-old man Kevin Nunes. This is being managed by the IPCC.

Wiltshire Police referred matters concerning the inspector and detective constable to the IPCC, while the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, referred issues related to the Chief Constable.

IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: " It is vital that the public are confident that police forces will take their complaints seriously and act with honesty and integrity.

"Our investigation will seek to establish whether information was knowingly withheld and whether these complainants were knowingly and dishonestly misled."

Mr Geenty joined the police service in 1982 having previously been a secondary school teacher in the Blackpool and Cheltenham areas, according to his force's website.

He served at forces in Gloucestershire and Humberside before joining Wiltshire in July 2009 as Assistant Chief Constable.

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