Met police braces for criticism

Met police braces for criticism as judge delivers child abuse report

Scotland Yard to decide what to publish of Operation Midland report
into handling of historic claims involving establishment figures

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe


The Met and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe are expected to face criticism for
relying on the testimony of a single alleged abuse victim named ‘Nick’.
Photograph: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
The report by a retired judge into the handling of historic claims of
child abuse and murder by prominent figures of the establishment has
been delivered to Scotland Yard.

The inquiry into Operation Midland by Sir Richard Henriques is expected to criticise the force. Police chiefs will study the report before deciding what will be published and what will remain secret.

The review examined how police forces can maintain the confidence of
victims, while avoiding the appearance of believing any story they are
told.

The Metropolitan police describes the version they have received as a “draft” and will now also decide which of Henriques’s findings they agree with.

The force says there is “no timetable” for the publication of
the limited excerpts they will publish, but has said it will not
publish the full report because it contains confidential and sensitive
information.

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

A Met police spokesman said: “We have received the draft report. Sir
Richard Henriques will finalise the report in the coming weeks.”

The £2m Operation Midland ended in March after it was concluded there
was insufficient evidence to arrest anyone or 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 Conservative MP Harvey
Proctor. All denied the allegations against them.

Launching
the review in February, the Met said: “The key findings of the review
and the recommendations will be published later this year, but the full
review will contain confidential and sensitive information and will be a
private report for the commissioner.”

The Met believes scores more victims of sexual abuse will come
forward, leading to more cases like those of Brittan and Bramall in
which prominent figures face allegations. He adds that despite
improvements to police practice “many more women” who suffer rapes
“still don’t come forward”.

Hogan-Howe has supported a new law banning news organisations from naming suspects in sexual abuse cases until they are charged.

Hogan-Howe will retire as commissioner in February 2017.

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