May 2008

Former police chief jailed for making boys drop their trousers

police (1)

A DISGRACED former Hampshire police chief has today been jailed for a series of humiliating acts on young boys.

Gerry Hutchings, 48, a former police inspector in the New Forest, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for making teenage boys drop their trousers while he was reprimanding them.

Brighton Crown Court, sitting at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, heard how Hutchings had 11 victims who he made strip naked and on some occasions touch their toes while he looked on.

Ten of the incidents, which left his victims “embarrassed and frightened”, took place in Lyndhurst where he was an inspector for 13 years.

Hutchings was also given an ASBO which will come into force when his sentence is completed.

Judge Cedrick Joseph said Hutchings would serve eight months before being released but would be banned from working unsupervised with children under 18.

Deputy chief constable Ian Readhead who was at court for the hearing said after sentence: “Mr Hutchings’ 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.

“I have personally visited the victims at their homes to apologise on behalf of the constabulary for this officer’s actions, “As a police service we are committed to ensuring Hampshire and the Isle of Wight remain safe places to live.

“That commitment extends to police stations where members of the public have a right to feel especially secure.”

The incidents took place between July 2006 and July 2007.

As a result of the investigations Hutchings was subjected to a fast track disciplinary hearing where he was dismissed with immediate effect in August last year by Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan.

Prosecutors offered no evidence against ten further allegations of sexual offence and Judge Jospeh officially recorded a not guilty verdict.

A spokesman for CPS said the discussion had been taken because there was no realistic hope of a successful prosecution.

District Crown prosecutor Tim Thompson said: “The police and CPS have worked closely to uncover the facts surrounding the serious allegations.

“As a result of this investigation we accepted Mr Hutchings’ pleas on the basis that he conceded his actions were a misuse of power and that he enjoyed this misuse of power over young men in custody.

“Once we accepted the plea we decided there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to sexual offences charges and discontinued those charges.

“I have written personally to all the victims involved in this matter.

“I hope they will be pleased with the resolution of the case and that Mr Hutchings has admitted his behaviour and has been sentenced accordingly.”

Hutchings had worked in most areas of the county during his career with Hampshire police.

He had previously held positions in Totton, where he spent two years, and five in both Portsmouth and Basingstoke where he was promoted to sergeant.

In 1994 he moved to Havant and was appointed inspector, serving in Waterlooville, Winchester police headquarters, two years in Yateley and one year in Aldershot.

He then moved to the New Forest where he was posted to Lymington, Ringwood and then Lyndhurst.

Born in Southampton where his father was an insurance manager, at the age of ten Hutchings and his family emigrated to South Africa where he finished his education before working as a housemaster in children’s homes.

Hutchings and his family returned to the UK in the 1970s and he joined Hampshire police.