A criminal investigation into “serious allegations of sexual offences” has been launched into Devon and Cornwall's Chief Constable Will Kerr.

Earlier today it was announced that Mr Kerr had been suspended by Devon and Cornwall's Police and Crime Commissioner following allegations of misconduct.

The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Marie Anderson, has now given more details.

She gave a statement saying: “The Police Ombudsman commenced a criminal investigation into serious allegations of sexual offences against a former Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) senior officer, currently the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, on 16 June 2023, using her own motion powers.

“The ombudsman will also consider the circumstances under which the allegations were investigated by PSNI.

“The office has been engaging with the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) on cross-jurisdictional issues in recent weeks, as well as with the office of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner.

“Details concerning the precise nature of the allegations and any early investigative actions remain confidential at this time.

“Independence and impartiality are central to all Police Ombudsman investigations and the office will be robust in following the evidence to ensure that any police officer in breach of the law and who abuses their position of trust will be held to account.

“As the investigation is at an early stage, it is not possible to confirm a likely timeframe for its conclusion.”

Mr Kerr served with the Police Service of Northern Ireland for more than 27 years. He was awarded the OBE in 2015, whilst Assistant Chief Constable of that force, and received the King's Policing Medal in the New Year Honours 2023.