A TOP police officer is facing a gross misconduct probe over claims he physically and verbally abused fellow officers.

Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne was investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after concerns were raised in January.

He initially faced four allegations but investigators found he did not have a case to answer over one of them.

Mr Horne is currently on secondment as deputy general director at the National Crime Agency (NCA), the nation’s leading crime-fighting organisation.

An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC has completed an investigation into allegations that a senior Essex Police officer was verbally and physically abusive towards colleagues, and he will now face a gross misconduct hearing.

“Allegations against Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne - who was based at Essex Police when the matters arose, but is currently on secondment to the National Crime Agency - were referred to the IPCC in January 2017.

“Following the conclusion of the investigation in July 2017, the IPCC lead investigator’s opinion is that DCC Horne has a case to answer for gross misconduct relating to allegations he was verbally and physically abusive towards colleagues on three different occasions.

“DCC Horne was found to have no case to answer in relation to a further allegation regarding his conduct.

“A gross misconduct hearing will be arranged by Essex Police in due course.”

Mr Horne joined the NCA in April along with four new board members. At the time, its director general Lynne Owens said: “These are five exceptional people who bring new dimensions of skill and knowledge to the top team.”

An Essex Police spokesman said the hearing : “We have no further comment to offer on this incident before a misconduct hearing has been held.

"Misconduct hearings deal with alleged gross misconduct by police officers on or off duty. They form part of the disciplinary process and are not criminal proceedings.

"At a hearing the facts are heard by a panel, often with the help of witnesses, to enable a finding to be made.”