The former head of Wiltshire Police, Brian Moore, has been accused of mishandling a sexual harassment case.

Ex-Chief Constable Moore, who last month was head-hunted to lead the new UK Border Force, was accused in a national newspaper of failing to take seriously the claims of the victims of harassment by his then deputy, the late David Ainsworth.

Several of the victims have won out-of-court settlements since Mr Ainsworth was found hanged in his Potterne garage in March 2011.

When the allegations surfaced in 2009 they were referred first to the Wiltshire Police Authority which, in September 2010, asked the South Wales Police Authority to conduct an external investigation.

It is understood an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry is under way in respect of a complaint about the force’s handling of the case, while the HM Inspectorate of Constab-ulary (HMIC) is conducting a review.

It was reported on Sunday some of the victims are to write to Home Secretary Teresa May challenging Mr Moore’s appointment to the newly created immigration enforcement body.

Responding to the claims yesterday, Mr Moore said: “All matters were fully reported by me on Novem-ber 30, 2009, to the Wiltshire Police Authority, (WPA) which then directed the action that was subsequently taken.

“How-ever, it is not appropriate to comment further as the coroner’s inquest is yet to be heard.”

A statement issued on behalf of Wiltshire Police Authority said: “WPA has responsibility for all conduct matters relating to Association of Chief Police Officers employed within the force.

“When each of the allegations in relation to former Deputy Chief Constable David Ainsworth came to light, they were referred by then Chief Constable Brian Moore to the WPA in their role as the appropriate authority for conduct matters.

“A severity assessment was then undertaken by them in line with the provisions of the Police Conduct Regulations 2008 and appropriate and proportionate response and action was put into place.

“Ultimately, in September 2010, the WPA referred emerging conduct allegations in relation to former DCC Ainsworth to an external force and asked that they undertake an independent investigation into the matters concerned.

“This investigation was ongoing at the time of Mr Ainsworth’s death. It is a matter of regret that a number of employees in Wiltshire were sufficiently concerned to come forward with information that led to the investigation.

“They did so bravely and courageously and have our full support.”

It added: “In September 2011 the WPA invited HMIC to undertake a review of the lessons learned surrounding these events.

“At this time the report is yet to be finalised and it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“The coronial process concerning the death of the Mr Ainsworth remains a live matter. Furthermore, a complaint connected to this matter has been sent to the IPCC and an active investigation is in progress.