Northamptonshire PCC Adam Simmonds gets 'unreserved' apology from watchdog

Adam Simmonds Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption PCC Adam Simmonds claims to have learned of the probe from his media team

The police watchdog has apologised to Northamptonshire's police and crime commissioner for failing to tell him he was under investigation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Adam Simmonds was being investigated over an alleged offence of misconduct in public office.

He is accused of disclosing "sensitive" information to third parties in 2013.

However, the IPCC neglected to tell Mr Simmonds he was under scrutiny and he found out from his own press team.

The watchdog said it had failed to follow "usual practice" when it began an inquiry into an allegation Mr Simmonds had shared protected information relating to a criminal investigation to third parties, in breach of data protection rules.

Mr Simmonds said it was "extraordinary" he had only learned about the IPCC probe from his press office.

Apology for distress

He felt he had been treated "unreasonably" by the watchdog.

"I hope before too long everything will be made clear. Until there is more to say I will make no further comment."

A spokesman for the IPCC said its role was to investigate police and crime commissioners if there was an allegation they may have committed a criminal offence.

"Our usual practice is to alert force press offices after those involved have been told," he said.

"This did not occur on this occasion and we have apologised unreservedly to Mr Simmonds for this and any distress caused."

Mr Simmonds said it was "absolutely right" those holding public office should be held accountable, and said the IPCC had a duty to investigate any allegation in a way that was "fair, transparent, proportionate, considered and - crucially - reasonable".

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