ABUSE COVERED UP

Operation Midland: VIP child abuse report will not be published in full

Met police will check report about their investigation for sensitive information and to decide whether they agree with findings

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe


The Met chief, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and his force are expected to be criticised by the report.
Photograph: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
Scotland Yard has said it will not publish the full report on its
heavily criticised investigation of child sexual abuse allegations
against VIPs because it contains “confidential and sensitive
information”.

It is believed this refers to information about and from exonerated suspects and their accusers.

A report by the retired judge Sir Richard Henriques on the conduct of Operation Midland, which investigated senior military and political figures, is expected to criticise decisions made by officers.

Scotland Yard said on Wednesday that there was no timetable for the
publication of the report, but confirmed it would receive a draft
version this week. It said it would release key findings and
recommendations.

A leaked letter has also shown the report will only be released once the Metropolitan police have decided whether they agree with its findings, sparking accusations that the force is attempting to manipulate it.

Written by the assistant commissioner Helen King to people falsely
accused of child abuse, the letter says she strongly expects that it
will be impossible to publish the whole report because it “will contain
material that is confidential and affects the rights of third parties”.

She said the force would need to consider very carefully not only
“what can and cannot be published from it, but also the extent to which
the Metropolitan police agrees or otherwise with all of its findings and
recommendations”.

“It will clearly take time to work through the detail of it before we
will be in a position to decide what may be suitable for sharing with
you and a number of others with a similar interest,” King writes.

The £2m Operation Midland ended in March after it was concluded there was insufficient evidence to arrest anyone let alone ask prosecutors to consider a charge.

The Met and its soon-to-be-retired chief, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe,
are expected to face strong criticism for relying on the testimony of a
single alleged abuse victim named as “Nick”, who claimed politicians
and military figures abused children in London and the home counties
between 1975 and 1984.

Nick’s claims led to allegations against public figures including
Edwin Bramall and Leon Brittan and the former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
All denied the allegations against them.

Proctor
has accused the police of orchestrating a cover-up. “Not content with
appointing their own judge, setting their own terms of reference,
excluding evidential matters and ensuring Henriques reports to
Hogan-Howe directly, now the MPS are ensuring it is not and cannot be
independent by tampering with their own report once written.,” he said.

“Their cover-up continues. They are going to ‘doctor’ their own
private investigation. It bears all the hallmarks of a secret police
state.”

He demanded the report be released in full and said that the Met was trying to hide its role as well as that of politicians.

Lady Brittan, Lord Brittan’s widow, declined to comment.

The Met said on Wednesday: “The MPS made clear when Sir Richard was
commissioned to look at the issues that key findings and recommendations
from his independent review would be published but the full review
would remain private as it would contain confidential and sensitive
information.

“We will not comment further on Sir Richard Henriques’ work as the process continues.”

The Guardian first reported that Henriques’s findings would not be published in full in February. The Met then said the report would be regarded as private for Hogan-Howe.

Scotland Yard will face trouble if Henriques rules against it on the question of whether it was right to investigate. Police have been criticised in some quarters for the length of time they took to make their inquiries.

An earlier review by Dorset police found the Met was right to
investigate an allegation of rape against Brittan. The former home
secretary died in January 2015 not knowing that police had concluded
four months previously that he had no case to answer.

The Met has said the Henriques review would consider concerns raised
by Lady Brittan widow and Bramall. Hogan-Howe has met both of them in
private to express “regret about the distress felt”.

Henriques examined whether a policy that “the victim should always
be believed” should be dropped. Hogan-Howe claimed Her Majesty’s
Inspectorate of Constabulary had recommended such a move in 2014, but
the HMIC’s head, Sir Tom Winsor, said Hogan-Howe had misunderstood its
advice.

Hogan-Howe said last week his decision to retire early was not
linked to the inquiry. He is not expected to be the target of
substantive and direct criticism in the report.

Detectives found indirect support for some of Nick’s account, such
as locations of places and descriptions of interiors, which they
believed could only have come from him having been in those places.

His accounts could not be disproved, and police policy at the time
was that a victim’s account should be treated as true unless it could be
shown to be wrong.


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