Northamptonshire Police’s top cop is being investigated for potentially misrepresenting his military service amid a claim he has worn a Falklands War medal despite only being 15 at the time of the conflict.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley is alleged to have sported the South Atlantic Medal, which was awarded to British military personnel and civilians for service in the 1982 war between the UK and Argentina.
Police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), has launched an investigation after a complaint with Chief Constable Adderley possibly facing a gross misconduct hearing and dismissal.
Mr Adderley has worn a number of medals at public events, including at the Police Bravery Awards in July.
This includes a Campaign Service Medal, which is typically awarded for duties in Northern Ireland.
Chief Constable Adderley said in a statement: “I have been made aware of a complaint in general terms but have not had any notices served upon me by the IOPC. It is disappointing that someone has leaked such details about what I deem to be a very personal family issue, that I have yet to respond to formally.
“Consequently, I am restricted in what I can say but I have always been keen to respond to such issues directly and openly. Hence it is important that I state for the public record that I am very proud of my Cadet, Royal Navy and Police Service.
“Coming from a military family, I wear all my medals with pride and have always worn the two medals my brothers gave me to wear when one became critically ill and one emigrated, alongside my own.
“Having been made aware of this complaint, which has a private family impact upon me personally, I immediately took advice last week regarding the protocol and have changed the side of my chest on which these medals are worn.
“I look forward to providing the IOPC with a fulsome response at the earliest opportunity and I fully appreciate that they have a job to do.”
A spokesperson for Northamptonshire Police said the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Stephen Mold received a complaint from a member of the public about Chief Constable Adderley’s wearing of medals and military service record.
They added: “The PFCC referred the complaint to the IOPC who are investigating. The Chief Constable and Northamptonshire Police look forward to co-operating fully with the investigation, but as this is a live inquiry, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
An IOPC spokesperson said: “We can confirm following assessment of a referral from the Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire we have begun an investigation into allegations against the Chief Constable.
“The allegations relate to concerns about potential misrepresentation of his military service and communications with the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner. Our enquiries are at an early stage.”
Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West, who was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for bravery in the Falklands War, told The Sun: “It’s very unfortunate when someone wears a medal they are not entitled to.
“They are misleading themselves and misleading people around them, especially if they are in a position of authority.”
The Falklands War lasted for 74 days and ended when Argentina surrendered on June 14, 1982, returning the islands to British control.
A total of 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders were killed in the hostilities.