INVESTIGATIONS into the conduct of Devon and Cornwall’s chief constable have ground to a halt – nine months after he was suspended on full pay from his £170,000 a year job.

Police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez is ‘frustrated’ at the pace of the inquiry, with taxpayers footing the bill for the salaries of two chief constables.

Last summer it was revealed a criminal investigation had been launched into sexual assault allegations against chief constable Will Kerr, a former assistant chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Kerr strenuously denies the allegations and says he will co-operate with any investigation.

During his suspension, the force has been run by an acting chief constable.

The inquiry into Mr Kerr is being carried out by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland, and the exact nature of the allegations hasn’t been revealed.

Subsequently, on July 26 last year, Mr Kerr was suspended over misconduct allegations, which are being dealt with by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. 

No details of those allegations have been released either.

An expert in organised crime and terrorism, Mr Kerr has been a police officer for more than 30 years.

He was awarded the OBE in 2015 and has received the King’s Policing Medal.

A spokesman for PCC Ms Hernandez said the situation remained unchanged, and the criminal investigation is still in the hands of the PONI.

The spokesman said: ‘Mr Kerr remains suspended on full pay at this time pending the completion of relevant investigations.

‘We are not the investigating body for the allegations against Mr Kerr and therefore cannot comment on the current status of these investigations.’

A spokesman for the PONI has confirmed that the criminal investigation is still in progress.

The IOPC said: ‘Our independent investigation into misconduct allegations against the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police has been temporarily suspended pending the criminal investigation being carried out by the PONI.

‘While we have made good progress, we decided to suspend the investigation as the stage was being reached where our inquiries risked causing prejudice to the ongoing criminal investigation which has to take precedence.’