Hearing set for suspended top policeman

Chief Inspector Mark Ling
Chief Inspector Mark Ling
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MORE than four months after Hastings’ top policeman was suspended over allegations he sent an offensive text message, a date has now been set for the hearing.

Chief Inspector Mark Ling was stood down from his duties as Hastings district commander on June 7, as Sussex Police launched a misconduct investigation.

According to Mark’s family, much of the delay has been due to the huge impact that the proceedings have had on his health.

His sister Susan Keyte, called the investigation disproportionate, and said: “He has taken it so devastatingly hard, it has ripped him apart.”

She said that both he and his wife, Rachel Ling, had suffered as a result, and had been unable to look after their two children, who are being cared for by other family members.

“He is now in a position to address the allegations,” she said.

Almost 23 weeks later, chief inspector Ling, who has received support from high profile figures in the community, including MP Amber Rudd, remains suspended.

Mrs Keyte, describing chief inspector Ling as a dedicated family man, said: “It would be his dearest wish to be back in command of a town that he was born in, and grew up in, and that he loves.”

Sussex Police refused to comment further on the investigation, or confirm the date of the misconduct hearing, which is believed to be towards the end of this month.

A police spokesman said: “We take our duty to ensure the highest standards of behaviour by our officers and staff very seriously.

“To ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigation and the fairness of our internal disciplinary procedures, we cannot go into further detail about the nature of the original allegation or the other matters that are under investigation.”