THE POLICE chief suspended earlier this year faces a misconduct investigation after allegedly sending a racist text message, it has emerged.
Chief inspector Mark Ling, had been Hastings District Commander for more than three years prior to his suspension on June 7 and had been widely praised for successfully reducing crime in the town.
The investigation was launched following allegations that Mr Ling sent a text message containing a racist word.
The details of the message have not been made public, and a police spokesman said it would be ‘inaccurate to suggest that this complex internal investigation concerns only the sending of a text message’.
The Observer understands phone records dating back two years have been scrutinised during the course of the investigation and a small number of additional offensive texts have been found.
Sussex Police would not comment further on the original allegation, or any other matters under investigation.
Councillor Jay Kramer, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “Chief inspector Mark Ling was very well respected in the community, and demonstrated a commitment to the community.
“In terms of my dealings with him, he has always acted very professionally.”
Mr Ling, father-of-two, who was born and grew up in Hastings, has driven crime to a seven-year low since taking over in 2008.
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, said: “Mark has been an excellent chief inspector for Hastings.
“Crime came down every year he was in charge.
“He was respected by the right people and feared by the right people, it is a great loss not to have him in the town.
“It seems very harsh on him and his family that this investigation has taken so long.”
The force has not officially identified the officer under investigation, and has not confirmed who the text message was sent to.
The police spokesman added: “The initial matter investigated by the Professional Standards Department was an allegation that an offensive text message had been sent by the suspended officer.
“During the investigation further matters have come to light requiring further investigation.
During the disciplinary process, chief inspector Laurence Taylor is standing in as district commander.
Right: Mark Ling