Historical sexual abuse claims put officers in a catch-22 situation claims the Metropolitan Police Chief
His comments come after William Roache and Dave Lee Travis were cleared of sexual abuse charges earlier in February
Police officers face a catch-22 situation over dealing with historical sexual abuse claims, the Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said.
He told the BBC that the police are criticised when they do not take allegations seriously but also condemned for pursuing them.
His comments come after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders wrote in The Times defending trials in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, including those of DJ Dave Lee Travis and Coronation Street actor William Roache.
Mr Travis was cleared of 12 indecent assault charges dating back to the 1970s, while Mr Roache was found not guilty of historical rape and indecent assault charges.
Sir Bernard told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If we ignore the new claims of historical events, we're told that we are wrong.
"If we investigate to the point of charge - we are challenged - did you go too far? And I think we have got to take these things seriously and the place to test it is called a court."
He added that while he was “comfortable” with the prosecutions already put forward, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service “will always look back and review whether we got it right.”
“One of the difficulties you have of course is a jury gives a verdict not a reason. So what you don't understand is what they didn't find persuasive.”
“We, the police, were criticised 20, 30 years ago that when victims came forward we didn't listen,” said Sir Bernard.
“Now victims are coming forward, we are listening and we're trying to get the evidence together to substantiate the claims,” he added.
Mrs Saunders told The Times: “To those who say recent high-profile acquittals show that police and prosecutors are overcompensating for past failings, I say quite simply that we are not.
"If we took to court only cases where, on the papers, we were certain of a conviction, we would rightly be accused of being over-cautious.
"Justice can only be done if prosecutors remain independent and fair, regardless of who a defendant might be."
She added: “So long as our criminal justice system is working effectively, we will continue to see acquittals in these types of cases. But we are also seeing convictions.”
Mrs Saunders, who took over as DPP in October, also condemned “new myths” that some sexual abuse victims were motivated by money.
She said: “It used to be that if a rape victim wore a short skirt, her credibility was undermined. Thankfully, we have moved on.
”Now we must be careful not to establish new myths that victims come forward only for financial or other motives.“
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains
Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: We are recruiting for a Systems and ...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Group: English as an Additional Langua...
£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...
£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...