A £165,000-a-year police chief once tipped for top job at The Met is at the centre of a fakery storm today after he was accused of wearing a Falklands War combat service medal – despite only being a 15-year-old sea cadet at the time. Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley (pictured), 57, is now being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). He is facing accusations of ‘stolen valour’ which could lead to the IOPC launching a gross misconduct board hearing and his potential dismissal.
Video footage has revealed how the Northamptonshire police boss flaunted the South Atlantic Medal, which was gifted to British military personnel who served in the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina. Adderley, a married father-of-two who was among the frontrunners to take on The Met before Sir Mark Rowley became Commissioner in 2022, is accused of wearing it at a string of events including the Police Bravery Awards in July. If the accusations are true, he faces claims of being a Walter Mitty-style fantasist.
The police chief, who has built a reputation as a no nonsense former naval officer turned cop, is understood to have enlisted in the Navy in 1984 aged 18 – two years after the Falklands War concluded. He was in the cadets from the age of 15. Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West, awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for bravery in the Falklands, said: ‘It’s very unfortunate when someone wears a medal they are not entitled to.’ He told The Sun: ‘They are misleading themselves and misleading people around them, especially if they are in a position of authority.’
A Northamptonshire Police press release from July said he served ‘in the Navy for ten years including the Falklands’ according to The Sun, though this has since been removed. The IOPC reportedly launched its probe after receiving a tip-off from the local Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner. Rear Admiral Doctor Chris Parry, who fought in the Falklands War, helping sink an enemy submarine, asked: ‘If a person lies about their medals what else would they lie about?’ The watchdog is looking into allegations of potential misrepresentation of his military service, as well as communications with the commissioner. But Adderley said he was ‘very proud of his Cadet, Royal Navy and Police Service’, adding he also wears medals awarded to his brothers with no further clarification.
‘I wear all my medals with pride and have always worn the two medals my brothers gave me to wear when one became critically ill and one emigrated, alongside my own. Having been made aware of this complaint, which has a private family impact upon me personally, I immediately took advice last week regarding the protocol and have changed the side of my chest on which these medals are worn. I look forward to providing the IOPC with a fulsome response at the earliest opportunity and I fully appreciate that they have a job to do.’ The top cop has also been seen wearing several other medals, including the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals.
‘Stolen Valour’ is the term commonly applied to the act of wearing military medals or decorations that have not been earned with the intent to deceive. It is not an offence in the UK for individuals to wear medals or decorations that they were not awarded – but it is an offence to wear a military medal without permission, according to the UK Parliament’s briefing on Stolen Valour. MailOnline has contacted Northamptonshire Police and the IOPC for comment.
In 2021 he was referred to the police watchdog following the tragic death of Harry Dunn (pictured) in his county after he was struck and killed by Anne Sacoolas, who then fled the country. Internal emails showed he described the spokesman for the family as an ‘issue.’ Adderley faced calls from the Dunn family to resign in October 2019 after a ‘disgraceful’ tweet in which he commented on their legal battles with ‘how sad but how predictable.’ Mr Adderley had apologised to the Dunn family two months later for a ‘breakdown’ in communications – describing his comments as ‘misconstrued.’ Mr Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorbike crashed into a car outside U.S. military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019.
The suspect, 43-year-old Anne Sacoolas (pictured), had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf by the U.S. government following the crash and she was able to return to her home country. Sacoolas was brought to justice after an extraordinary campaign by Harry’s family and she was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year.
Emails obtained through a subject access request have shown how Mr Adderley warned the Home Office ‘that the issue is with the family’s spokesperson [Radd Seiger], who would disclose any engagement to the media and may not do so accurately.’ The Northamptonshire force had also made its views clear to the Foreign Office on the Interpol notice issued for the suspect – which emails have suggested was a diffusion notice and not a red notice. Emails showed that the police ‘regretted the email that had gone out to Harry Dunn’s family’s spokesperson’ – adding ‘Northants Police maintain that it was not their intention to provide the information to the family.’ Internal Home Office communications from May 13 also revealed how they suggested the force ‘be more open’ with the Dunn family about the Interpol notice ‘as we don’t want them to feel abandoned.’ Pictured: Dunn family advisor and spokesperson Radd Seiger.
But Mr Adderley rejected the suggestion, saying: ‘Following our telephone conversation this morning and taking into consideration the Judicial Review we are party to, I have taken the decision not to write to the family, or the family spokesperson.’ He also provoked a backlash after he said officers may have to search shopping trolleys if the public flout the rules. Adderley warned that police could soon have to snoop on shoppers or impose road blocks to check people were going out of their homes for only essential reasons. The Northamptonshire Police chief claimed the public had enjoyed a ‘three-week grace period’ and said his force will now be issuing £60 fines and arresting those caught outside without a good reason. He said: ‘We will not, at this stage, be setting up road blocks. We will not, at this stage, start to marshal supermarkets and check the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it’s a necessary item. But be under no illusion, if people do not heed the warnings and the pleas I’m making today, we will start to do that.’
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