The Wiltshire Police chief under investigation by a watchdog over the way his force handled allegations of sexual abuse is to retire.
Chief constable Pat Geenty, a former senior officer with Humberside Police, will step down in May after 33 years’ service as an officer.
Announcing his retirement, he said: “Policing has been a fundamental part of my life for the past 33 years, so this has been an extremely difficult decision for me to make.
“However, after considerable soul-searching, I feel confident that this is the right thing for me to do.
“I am entirely certain that I am leaving the force in capable hands and wish to reassure the public that there is a clear plan for the future of Wiltshire Police.”
Mr Geenty, who rose to Chief Superintendent at Humberside Police before joining Wiltshire in 2009, is currently under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for alleged gross misconduct.
The watchdog is also examining an inspector and detective constable in relation to the way the Wiltshire force dealt with complaints about a sexual abuse investigation in 2008 and 2009.
It is alleged Mr Geenty, the then-assistant chief constable, the inspector and detective constable withheld information from the original complainants about the extent of the force’s failings in dealing with the sexual abuse claims.
It is understood that the IPCC will continue its investigation into Mr Geenty and could decide if he has a “case to answer” for gross misconduct. However, he will not face the possibility of a disciplinary panel because he is retiring.
An IPCC spokeswoman said: “Our investigation is on-going. All three officers were served with gross misconduct notices in September and were interviewed by IPCC investigators the following month.
“Our investigations continue and further interviews will take place in the near future.”
Angus Macpherson, police and crime commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Mr Geenty for his hard work, professionalism and total commitment to his role as chief constable of Wiltshire Police.
“While I am personally disappointed to be losing an exceptional officer and leader, I fully understand and respect his decision to retire.
“I will now begin to consider the continuity plan for the force to ensure that Wiltshire Police are able to maintain consistency in leadership. I will update further once I have made a decision.”
Mr Geenty joined the police service in 1982 having previously been a secondary school teacher in the Blackpool and Cheltenham areas.
He served at forces in Gloucestershire and Humberside before joining Wiltshire in July 2009 as assistant chief constable.
After joining Humberside Police as a Chief Inspector in 1998, he rose to Divisional Commander for East Yorkshire and held this post at the time of the devastating floods in 2007.
Speaking last year after the IPCC investigation was announced, Mr Geenty said: “I am shocked by the allegation that I attempted to mislead a complainant.
“I welcome an open and transparent investigation, and the public deserve no less.
“The IPCC is there to investigate complaints independently and hold chief constables to account. I expect my actions to be reviewed and scrutinised.
“I am committed to serving the people of Wiltshire and protecting children and vulnerable people. It is vital that we listen to complaints and learn from them.”