Top police officer faces probe for wearing Falklands medal despite being too young to fight in the war

29 September 2023, 09:02 | Updated: 29 September 2023, 09:06

Nick Adderley
Nick Adderley. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Kit Heren

One of the UK's most senior police officers is facing an investigation after being seen wearing a medal for service in the Falklands, despite being too young to have fought in that war.

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Nick Adderley, Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, has worn a South Atlantic medal on several occasions.

Mr Adderley, 57, joined the Royal Navy in 1984 - two years after the Falklands. He was previously a cadet as a teenager, but they were not sent to serve in the war.

He said in response that the medal question was a "very personal family issue" and that he wore two medals given to him by his brothers when one fell seriously ill and the other left the UK.

Mr Adderley said that since a complaint was made against him last week, he had taken to wearing those two medals on the right side of his chest.

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This is the correct etiquette, according to the Royal British Legion, which says that "medals awarded to a deceased Service / ex-Service person may be worn on the right breast by a near relative."

The independent office for police conduct (IOPC) has launched an investigation against Mr Adderley, who could face a gross misconduct charge, the Sun reported.

Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West, who won a Distinguished Service Cross for bravery in the Falklands, told the paper it was "very unfortunate when someone wears a medal they are not entitled to."

He added: "They are misleading themselves and misleading people around them, especially if they are in a position of authority."

Mr Adderley was spotted wearing the medals on the left side of his chest at the Police Bravery Awards in July.

A press release by Northamptonshire Police also said that he served in the Navy for ten years including in the Falklands. The release has since been scrubbed from the website, but it remains live on a site that is affiliated with the force.

Police Oracle, a police news website, also has an interview with Adderley where he is described as having served in the Falklands.

Other news articles going back nearly ten years report that he served in the Falklands, and have remained uncorrected.

Mr Adderley has also been seen wearing a Campaign Service Medal, which is usually given out awarded for serving in Northern Ireland.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman with Nick Adderley
Home Secretary Suella Braverman with Nick Adderley. Picture: Alamy

Mr Adderley said: "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.

Nick Adderley
Nick Adderley. Picture: Alamy

"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.”

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