The report into the failings of the Metropolitan Police in child sexual abuse cases is the “most damning ever written” the government has admitted.
The report, published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found the Met had been inconsistent in its handling of cases and concluded that three quarters of the 374 cases it investigated had been handled inadequately.
Policing minister Brandon Lewis told the House of Commons: “We have to be unequivocally clear about this – this is the most damning report Her Majesty’s Inspectoral have ever written about any inspection it has done on any police force in the country.”
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, who requested an urgent question on the matter, said the report shows “an appalling catalogue of failure for some of the most vulnerable in society”.
She added: “This is not just an issue for the Met. The same failings have been identified in forces across the country and victims continue to be let down.
“A year ago the Home Office said they would give forces the resources they needed to improve their response to child sexual abuse. It’s time they kept that promise.”
The report comes weeks after a damning review found “numerous errors” in Scotland Yard's doomed investigation into claims of a VIP paedophile ring.
In one case, a teenage girl disclosed that she had been given alcohol and cigarettes before being sexually assaulted by a 30-year-old man she met online.
An officer was not assigned to the investigation until 17 days later, during which time the man continued to message the teenager – HMIC said this put her at risk, while the Met rated its handling as good.
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