The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has “apologised unreservedly” to Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds for failing to inform him directly of the allegations against him.
On Monday, the IPCC announced it was investigating allegations that Mr Simmonds breached the Data Protection Act by disclosing information relating to a criminal investigation to third parties and committed an offence of misconduct in public office.
In response, Mr Simmonds said he felt “unreasonably treated” by the IPCC because he found out about the allegations against him through a member of his media team, who had been informed by a member of the IPCC’s media team.
He said: “It is extraordinary I should learn of an investigation in which I am a component, through third parties and not directly.
“It seems to be a given these days that anyone holding public office will have complaints made about them. Allegations of wrongdoing are expected and accepted. But what is often difficult to cope with is the way allegations are ‘announced’.
“In the case of the IPCC they style and title their investigations with powerful sounding wrongdoing potential. With little sense of proportionality, the world can only think the worst.”
A spokesman for the IPCC said the “usual practice” was to alert press offices after those involved had been told about the allegations but this “did not occur” on this occasion.
The spokesman said: “The IPCC’s role is to investigate Police and Crime Commissioners or their deputies if there is an allegation that they may have committed a criminal offence, either while in office or prior to them becoming Police and Crime Commissioners.
“Our usual practice is to alert force press offices after those involved have been told. This did not occur on this occasion and we have apologised unreservedly to Mr Simmonds for this and any distress caused.”