Marcus Beale
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale faces allegations relating to a failure to safeguard sensitive documents. Getty

West Midlands Police's former counter terrorism chief has been suspended after being summoned to court accused of failing to protect "sensitive documents" which were stolen from his car.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale is due to appear at Westminster magistrates court on 7 December, accused of an offence under the Official Secrets Act relating to failure to safeguard sensitive documents following an investigation by Met Police.

The allegations relate to a number of items which were stolen form an unmarked police car in May.

Police said a number of personal belongings were taken during the theft, along with a locked box containing documents relating to police matters.

West Midlands Police said Beale, who was the force's counter-terrorism boss at the time of the theft, has been suspended after he was summonsed to court.

A spokesperson for the force added: "Due to the nature of the documents lost, the Metropolitan Police Service was asked by West Midlands Police to undertake an independent investigation into any criminal liabilities.

"The MPS' Specialist Operations Directorate has national responsibilities in relation to offences under the Official Secrets Act and it was deemed more appropriate for an outside force independent of the officer to investigate."