Police chief who wore fake Falklands medal found guilty of gross misconduct and sacked for lying

21 June 2024, 11:46

Nick Adderley has been sacked after panel found him guilty of gross misconduct and lying
Nick Adderley has been sacked after panel found him guilty of gross misconduct and lying. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

A top police officer who lied and exaggerated his naval rank, length of service and achievements when applying to become chief constable has been found to have committed gross misconduct and has been dismissed without notice.

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Nick Adderley, suspended chief constable of Northamptonshire Police, "built a military naval legend that wasn't true", a misconduct hearing was told - including implying that he had served in the Falklands War, despite being 15 when the conflict broke out in 1982.

The panel, chaired by Callum Cowx - who served in the Royal Navy, the Army and the police, found all allegations against Mr Adderley proven, saying they found "his audacity to be quite staggering", adding that he had lied over many years with "arrogant temerity".

Mr Adderley was dismissed without notice and placed on the police barred list by the panel, who said his "sustained brazen dishonesty and sustained lack of integrity will cause lasting harm to the police service".

He has 10 days to appeal against the decision.

Nick Adderley who wore a Falklands War medal despite being just 15 when the conflict happened
Nick Adderley who wore a Falklands War medal despite being just 15 when the conflict happened. Picture: Alamy

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The misconduct hearing in Northampton heard Mr Adderley wore a South Atlantic Medal (SAM), awarded to British military personnel and civilians for service in the Falklands conflict, that was deemed "110%" fake by a Ministry of Defence medal expert.

Mr Adderley claimed on his CV and his application form when applying to become chief constable of Northamptonshire Police in 2018 that he had been in the Royal Navy for 10 years when he had served for only two, and had apparently included his service with the Sea Cadets from the age of 10 in that calculation.

He also lied that he had attended the prestigious Britannia Royal Naval College for four years, despite his application being rejected, said he had seen active service during his naval career, had been a military negotiator in Haiti despite never visiting the country, and that he had been a "commander or a lieutenant", even though he only achieved the rank of able seaman.

Mr Adderley had claimed that the SAM he had been pictured wearing a number of times since 2012 had been given to him by his brother Richard when he emigrated to Australia, but the panel was told on Thursday that Richard Adderley did not embark for The Falklands until July 2 1982, with the hostilities ending around three weeks previously on June 14.

The chief constable's brother was not entitled to wear the SAM with rosette and only applied for a SAM under a change in criteria for applicants put in place in 2015 on October 12 2023 - 10 days after Nick Adderley received a notice of investigation from the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Mr Cowx said the panel would not give fully formed reasons for their decisions on Friday, and they would follow in a written report within five days, but agreed the allegations against Mr Adderley amounted to breaches of honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct.

He said: "Mr Adderley has a genuinely fascinating success story to tell. He joined the Royal Navy as a rating, a career was not for him.

"He found his vocation in policing and rose from able seaman to chief constable and that's an amazing achievement worth telling, but something in Nick Adderley told him that wasn't enough."

The misconduct hearing was earlier told by John Beggs KC, representing the Office of the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, that media claims of "stolen valour" were not exaggerated.

Mr Cowx said: "Mr Beggs described his actions as stolen valour and that's precisely what it is - by wearing medals he was not entitled to wear, he stole their richly deserved valour and recognition and his explanation was risible.

"He knew he was not entitled to wear the medals. Of further concern is that he involved his brothers to the extent that they gave him medals to wear that he had not earned.

"Richard Adderley is, or was, a police officer, yet he too has lied freely to deflect attention from his brother."

Mr Cowx said "alarm bells should have rung" when Mr Adderley applied for the top job at Northamptonshire and questioned why nobody who was vetting the applicants picked up on the inaccuracies in his CV and application form, saying that the harm from this case would be "significant".

He said: "There is ongoing and serious public concern about the vetting of police officers yet here is someone who managed to slip under the radar."

Mr Adderley did not attend the final day of the misconduct hearing, despite being directed to by Mr Cowx, but a statement was read out on his behalf by his barrister Matthew Holdcroft, who said he "deeply regrets" any offence his medal-wearing may have caused veterans.

In a statement from Mr Adderley that was read out at the hearing, he acknowledged the officers he had worked with in his 32-year career, saying: "I had the privilege of serving communities in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and Northamptonshire and it has been the greatest honour of my life to lead the brave men and women in those forces.

"For over three decades I have witnessed first hand the dedication they apply and their unswerving bravery. The pride I have in those I have led has no bounds and I will be forever grateful to them for the difference they have made to the lives of so many.

"Thank you for your support, kindness and inspiring me to push on and be a better leader and colleague. I offer a heartfelt apology.

"Today's determination showed I have failed you, something I deeply regret. I regret I will no longer be part of your future.

"Please be under no illusion I will be there cheering you on from the sidelines."

In a statement, the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Danielle Stone, said: "This case has put Northamptonshire Police in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

"We now need to set out to restore a reputation for honesty and integrity, which are fundamental values.

"Police officers are held to very high standards and the expectation of police leaders is even higher - it is their duty to set the tone for the rest of the organisation.

"Failing to uphold these standards is incredibly serious and damaging to public confidence in our police officers who do excellent work, day after day, to keep the public safe.

"We will now work hard to rebuild that reputation for honesty and integrity and earn the confidence of the public.

"Acting Chief Constable Ivan Balhatchet and his team have done a fantastic job in leading the force through a period of uncertainty and I will work with them to engage with communities and build public confidence and trust in their police."

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