Peterborough council leader has “full confidence” in ex-police deputy after resignation over undercover officer allegations

Former Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Coles.
Former Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Coles.

Cambridgeshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has resigned after allegations were made against him during a Channel 4 investigation, but he has received support from the leader of Peterborough City Council.

Councillor John Holdich said he has “full confidence” in fellow Conservative councillor Andy Coles who stepped down from his police role on Monday after he was accused of having a relationship with a young activist while working as an undercover officer.

Cllr Coles, who remains a member for Fletton and Woodston on the council, said media coverage of the allegations were “significantly impacting” his ability to do the job. The claims have now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Cllr Holdich said: “I am unable to comment whilst the allegation is under investigation by the Met on something which happened a long time ago.”

But he added: “Cllr Coles I have found is a man of great integrity and maintains my full confidence. We owe a lot to men and women who work undercover to keep us safe.”

Cllr Coles was chair of governors at Voyager Academy but has agreed to step down from the role. A Voyager spokesperson said: “Following the publication of these historic allegations we have asked Mr Coles to step down as chair of governors without prejudice while the IPCC investigation takes place.”

West Town Primary Academy, where Cllr Coles is also a governor, said: “Governance at the academy will be discussed at a trust meeting this week.”

The Channel 4 programme screened last Friday centred on an investigation into the activities of undercover police officers in the 1990s who infiltrated a group of animal rights activists.

The programme interviewed a woman who is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police and made allegations against Cllr Coles.

Cllr Coles, a former council cabinet member for children’s services, said he was unable to comment on the allegations against him.

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite accepted his deputy’s resignation, but is not commenting further on the matter.