Corruption probe into ‘sacking’ of cop after he named minister as child abuse suspect
In 1998 Clive Driscoll was subjected to disciplinary proceedings and moved from his child protection post in Lambeth, South London. Now anti-corruption cops are investigating whether his dismissal was linked to him naming an MP as a child abuse suspect
In 1998 Clive Driscoll was subjected to disciplinary proceedings and moved from his child protection post in Lambeth, South London.
Mr Driscoll, who was forced to retire in May despite nailing two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers, was yesterday quizzed about his claims for more than three hours by detectives from the Met’s Department of Professional Standards. His meeting follows the Daily Mirror’s probe into the alleged cover-up of abusethat went on for many decades in children’s homes in Lambeth, South London.
The Mirror can now reveal that the decision to launch disciplinary proceedings against him was taken by Sir Denis O’Connor, who later became the Chief Inspector of Constabulary. He has told the Mirror he has no recollection of politicians being mentioned as possible suspects.
Sir Denis, then an assistant commissioner, set up a new children’s home probe codenamed Operation Middleton. Led by Det Supt Richard Gargini who reported to deputy assistant commissioner Sir Hugh Orde, it traced 200 victims and secured three convictions. A total of 19 suspects were never identified, fuelling fears a paedophile ring had operated involving men from outside the care system.
Child protection expert Helen Kenward jointly led the operation on the social services side. The Government monitored Mr Driscoll’s investigation and Operation Middleton through Paul Clark of the Social Services Inspectorate. Sir Hugh, Mr Gargini, Mr Clark and Ms Kenward met last December to discuss the Mirror investigation.
Sir Hugh said: “Paul Clark told us that he’d met you so it made sense to sit down and have a conversation about it. It was nothing sinister.”
Mr Driscoll was removed after he spoke to a witness who told him the Blair minister made lone evening visits to a children’s home run by convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll.
The witness, a former Lambeth social services boss, told the Mirror the politician would go to a flat in the Angell Road home in Brixton, South London, in the early 1980s along with young boys. Speaking at home in Chirk, Shropshire, Carroll, 65, last week said: “I have never met him (the politician).”
But the witness told detectives last year that Carroll told her the politician was his friend and that he visited the home, along with South Vale assessment centre, in West Norwood and took children out. Carroll was jailed for 10 years in 1999 for child sex offences.
Dr Nigel Goldie, in charge of child protection in Lambeth in 1998, said of Mr Driscoll’s removal: “There was something very unfortunate about how the whole thing was dealt with. There could have been good reason for it [Mr Driscoll’s investigation] being ended but the manner it was done suggests some form of cover-up.”
A memo from 1998 says the then health minister Frank Dobson was to be updated about the investigation. Mr Dobson denies being told a minister had been investigated about child sex abuse. Mr Clark also denies being aware of it.
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