The former deputy boss of Police Scotland has been suspended from his current post as a chief constable in England amid sex offence allegations.
Chief constable Will Kerr KPM of Devon and Cornwall Police was temporarily removed from his post by the Police and Crime Commissioner on Wednesday.
The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Marie Anderson, confirmed a criminal investigation into “serious allegations of sexual offences” has been launched into CC Kerr, who previously served with the Police Service of Northern Ireland for more than 27 years.
Kerr joined Devon and Cornwall Police in 2022 after serving as deputy chief constable for Police Scotland for four years.
Acting chief constable Jim Colwell said: “I understand our communities will be concerned about the reports in the media today regarding the suspension of chief constable Will Kerr KPM by the Police and Crime Commissioner [OPCC]. The PCC suspension of Mr Kerr follows a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
“I am keen to reassure the public that we will maintain our focus on delivering the best possible service to our communities.
“We have thousands of dedicated and professional officers, staff and volunteers within our force and strong leadership throughout which, when pulled together, mean we can continue to make improvements at pace to provide our communities with the highest levels of service they deserve.
“Public trust and confidence are at the very heart of our ability to police effectively and we are incredibly proud that in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly we have the support of our communities.
“I will be stepping into the role of acting chief constable on an interim basis to ensure consistency of leadership and service delivery of policing across the peninsula.
“This now remains a matter for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the IOPC to investigate.”
Kerr has spent over 30 years in policing and was deputy chief constable at Police Scotland before joining Devon and Cornwall.
He served with the Police Service of Northern Ireland for almost three decades and reached the rank of assistant chief constable there, leading on both serious crime and counter terrorism.
In 2015 he was made an OBE, and he received the King’s Police Medal in the New Year Honours earlier this year.
An IOPC spokesperson said: “Following assessment of a referral from the Police and Crime Commissioner, we have decided to investigate allegations of misconduct against the Chief Constable of Devon & Cornwall Police, Will Kerr.”