Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable, Nick Adderley, is currently under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over allegations concerning the medals he wore and the representation of his military service.
As of now, specific details regarding the nature of the allegations about his military service representation have not been disclosed.
This investigation comes in the wake of a complaint filed by a member of the public, referred to the IOPC by the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), Stephen Mold.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley is notably proactive in defending his officers, particularly in countering what he perceives as ‘anti-police’ narratives frequently circulated in mainstream media outlets.
Nick Adderley, 57, served in the Royal Navy as both a cadet and in regular service before joining the police force in 1992.
In the past, Northamptonshire Police’s communications department indicated that Chief Constable Nick Adderley had served in the Falklands War. However, there is currently no substantiated evidence to suggest that this claim originated directly from Mr. Adderley himself.
However, a member of the public raised questions about the authenticity of this claim.
Specifically, the complaint allegedly relates to a South Atlantic medal, which is awarded to those who served in the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina in 1982.
In his statement, Chief Constable Nick Adderley addressed the allegations, albeit without going into specific details due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.
He mentioned that he wore medals given to him by his brothers—one of whom became critically ill, and the other who emigrated—alongside his own.
Mr Adderley added that upon being made aware of the complaint, he sought advice about the proper protocol for wearing these medals and has since altered the side of his chest on which the medals are displayed.
Legal Framework and Social Custom
According to UK legislation, namely the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955, and the Naval Services Act 1957, wearing military medals not directly awarded to oneself is technically illegal and could result in criminal charges.
However, a well-established custom allows family members to wear their deceased relatives’ medals on the right side of the chest during remembrance ceremonies and other special occasions.
This custom aims to honour and remember the relative without implying that the wearer earned the medals.
In light of this, Chief Constable Adderley’s decision to move the medals to the opposite side of his chest aligns with this long-standing tradition.
It remains to be seen whether this alteration will have any bearing on the ongoing investigation.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley said:
“I have been made aware of a complaint in general terms but have not had any notices served upon me by the IOPC.
“It is disappointing that someone has leaked such details about what I deem to be a very personal family issue, that I have yet to respond to formally.
“Consequently I am restricted in what I can say but I have always been keen to respond to such issues directly and openly. Hence it is important that I state for the public record that I am very proud of my Cadet, Royal Navy and Police Service.
“Coming from a military family, 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.”
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