A FORMER Hampshire police officer accused of sexually assaulting 18 people at police stations has appeared before court.

Gerard Hutchings, 64, appeared before Southampton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning.

He spoke only to confirm his address and date of birth during his court appearance.

Former inspector Hutchings, of Wingrove Road in Ashurst, faces 29 charges including 18 alleged offences of wilfully neglecting to perform duty and misconducting himself while a holder of public office.

The allegations also include causing a person to engage in sexual activity and misconduct in a public office.

The offences are alleged to have taken place at various police stations across Hampshire between 1999 and 2007.

The complainants were aged between 17 and 31 at the time.

The ex-police inspector left the force in 2007 and an investigation by Hampshire Constabulary began in 2021.

He will next appear before Southampton Crown Court on January 5, 2024.

Judge Peter Greenfield said: "I am sending this case to Southampton Crown Court for January 5.

"I grant you unconditional bail. You are free to go."

Confirming the charges, a force spokesman said: “The alleged offending took place between 1999 and 2007 in various police stations across the Hampshire force area, where Mr Hutchings worked as an inspector.

“He left the force in 2007.

“The Operation Marmion team began an investigation in 2021, following reports about this alleged offending.”