Missing child sex abuse files’ inquiry criticised by Simon Danczuk MP

Brian Clare
9 mins
Missing child sex abuse files’ inquiry criticised by Simon Danczuk MP
Review of Home Office’s handling of child sex abuse allegations has ‘failed’ to uncover key documents, say reports An inquiry into the Home Office’s handling of historic child sex abuse allegations – to be published imminently – has been criticised by a campaigning MP.
Simon Danczuk, who exposed former Lib Dem MP Cyril Smith as a paedophile, said the review by Peter Wanless, the chief executive of the NSPCC, had neglected to use high-tech digital techniques which may have helped locate missing files.
It is understood the review commissioned by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has failed to track down 114 missing files on child sex abuse allegations made in the Eighties, including a dossier handed over to the Home Office by the late Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens.
The Telegraph also understands the Wanless review encountered problems obtaining material from the police and other law enforcement agencies about previous child sex abuse allegations.
Mr Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, said: “There are sophisticated digital techniques for looking into archives for missing documents which have not been used in the Wanless review. I put Peter Wanless in touch with a leading company which specialises in tracing this kind of material but the timescale for his review did not allow the use of such techniques.
“That raises serious questions about the scope of the investigations and, frankly, leaves a question mark over any of its findings.”
Mr Dickens, who died in 1995, told his family that details in his dossier would “blow the lid off” the lives of powerful and famous child abusers in a paedophile ring at the heart of Westminster.
Lord Brittan, the former home secretary, has confirmed he received a “substantial bundle of papers” from Mr Dickens in 1983 and said he had passed them to his officials for investigation.
A previous internal inquiry by the Home Office also failed to unearth the “Dickens dossier” or other relevant files.
Mark Sedwill, the department’s permanent secretary, said the review had analysed a central database containing 746,000 files from the period 1979 to 1999 and had identified 527 potentially relevant files, from which nine items of information about alleged child abuse were reported to police.
But an analysis of the database also concluded that “114 potentially relevant files had been presumed destroyed, missing or not found”.
Last week Mrs May was forced to apologise in the Commons following the resignation of the second chairwoman appointed to lead a wider inquiry into historic child sex abuse.
Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, stepped down following disclosures about her links to Lord Brittan, whose decisions as home secretary are likely to come under scrutiny as part of the review which is expected to encompass hundreds of organisations and institutions.

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