The former head of a police force's mounted section has been charged with 12 sex assaults.
David Roythorne has been bailed to appear before magistrates
David Roythorne, 51, who retired last year, is alleged to have committed the offences while commanding Northumbria Police's horse patrols.
The ex-sergeant was arrested following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
He has been charged with nine indecent assaults and three sexual assaults, together with ABH and theft.
A spokesman for the IPCC said the alleged victims were five men and a woman.
He said: "The charges follow an IPCC independent investigation into allegations made about incidents which are alleged to have occurred whilst Mr Roythorne was employed within the mounted section of Northumbria Police.
"The Crown Prosecution Service considered the IPCC's investigation report and advised that the former officer should be charged."
Mr Roythorne, of Westmoor, North Tyneside, is accused of committing the offences between July 2001 and September 2006.
He has been bailed to appear at Bedlington Magistrates Court on 30 August.
The case marks the first occasion in which IPCC investigators has used powers under the Police Reform Act 2002 to arrest and charge someone.