Ex-police chief in leak probe given apology

Steve Watts
Steve Watts
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A FORMER police officer has received an apology for the way he was investigated over claims that he leaked information.

Steve Watts, former Assistant Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary, was the subject of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police after allegations were made that he breached the Official Secrets Act.

In February 2009 the Met informed Mr Watts that there would be no charges due to insufficient evidence.

Mr Watts then complained about the conduct of the Met and a second investigation was carried out by Essex police into the way the Met inquiry was handled. Changes were put in place at the Met in the wake of that inquiry, and the force has now sent Mr Watts a letter of apology. The letter states more clearly that the original inquiry did not identify any wrongdoing on his part.

Mr Watts, 54,: ‘I have no issues about being a part of the investigation, but my integrity and reputation are important to me.

‘I have had this issue hanging over my head for the past four years and it has been very difficult. There was no substance in the allegations, yet I was vilified.

‘I am grateful for the apology and I can put this behind me.’

In September 2008, Steve Watts – along with an unnamed colleague – were questioned by Scotland Yard.

It came in the final days of Mr Watts serving a 32-year career with the force, in which he became head of specialist operations. Mr Watts also complained to the Hampshire Police Authority as his identity was confirmed to the media by the then chairman Jacqui Rayment. She was found guilty of breaching the code of conduct and has since had retraining. Mr Watts, who now runs a consultancy company, will be attending today’s final Hampshire Police Authority meeting, taking place today, where the matter is due to be discussed.