Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 13:02 UK

Inspector in 'abuse' probe jailed

Gerard Hutchings (C) Connors News Agency
Gerard Hutchings was dismissed from Hampshire police in August 2007

A former Hampshire police inspector has been jailed after he admitted mistreating young men in custody.

Gerard Hutchings, 48, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 11 counts of misconduct in a public office against 11 victims from 2006 to 2007.

On Friday, Hutchings, who worked in Lyndhurst, was jailed for 16 months.

He was also given an anti-social behaviour order preventing him from working unsupervised with any person under the age of 18.

Not guilty pleas to 10 counts of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent were accepted by the prosecution.

A plea of not guilty to a sexual assault charge was also accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

One count of misconduct in public office was taken into consideration.

Hutchings's abhorrent actions as an inspector are a disgrace to the uniform worn by all law-abiding police officers.
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead

The court heard that on 11 occasions Hutchings made youths strip and bend over while in custody, although he did not physically assault them.

He told them he was "hardening" them up for prison.

Sentencing at Brighton Magistrates' Court, Judge Cedric Joseph said: "There was absolutely no justification for it and it was totally inappropriate and quite wrong.

"You must have known that from the word go, as you continued to do it on 11 occasions in all, it would have affected public confidence in Hampshire police."

Hutchings, who had 28 years service with Hampshire police, has since been dismissed from the force.

'Abhorrent actions'

On Friday, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead, of Hampshire Police, said he had personally visited the victims to apologise on behalf of the constabulary.

"The allegations against Mr Hutchings came to light in July 2007 and were immediately investigated by officers from our professional standards department," he said.

"Hutchings's abhorrent actions as an inspector are a disgrace to the uniform worn by all law-abiding police officers.

"His behaviour is totally untypical of those serving with Hampshire Constabulary and falls far short of the high standards we exact from our staff."

Ex-policeman admits mistreatment
04 Apr 08 |  Hampshire
Ex-police officer on sex charges
06 Dec 07 |  Hampshire

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