Scotland Yard is to be investigated over claims it covered up child sex offences due to the involvement of both MPs and police officers.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it is investigating allegations of “historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature” within the Metropolitan Police force.
The Met is being probed over 14 referrals made to the IPCC detailing alleged corruption in the force relating to child sexual offences from the 1970s to the 2005.
These include claims that the Met suppressed evidence, hindered or halted investigations and covered up offences because MPs and police officers had been involved.
One of the allegations explicitly refers to Dolphin Square, the estate in Pimlico close to the Houses of Parliament where child sex abuse parties attended by MPs are alleged to have taken place.
Another claims that a statement made by an abuse victim was doctored to remove the name of a senior politician implicated in the crime, while another alleges no action was taken after a document listing police officers and MPs involved in a paedophile ring was discovered.
The IPCC is yet to decide on whether or not to investigate two more referrals "of a similar nature".
The Met said the allegations arose while officers were working on Operation Fairbank, causing the police force to refer the claims to the IPCC.
Sarah Green, deputy chair of the IPCC, said: “These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature. We will oversee the investigations and ensure that they meet the terms of reference that we will set.
"Allegations of this nature are of grave concern and I would like to reassure people of our absolute commitment to ensuring that the investigations are thorough and robust."
The IPCC will now manage an investigation already being conducted by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards into alleged police corruption. Scotland Yard is also investigating the original allegations of child abuse.
A Met Police spokesman said: ”The Independent Police Complaints Commission have today announced they will manage the investigations by the Metropolitan Police Service's directorate of professional standards, concerning historic allegations of impropriety by police officers when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.
“The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) recognised the severity of the allegations, and the importance of understanding whether or not our officers had in the past acted inappropriately, and therefore voluntarily referred the 16 separate allegations to the IPCC.
”On-going investigations and recent convictions by officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command have shown that the MPS is fully committed to investigating non-recent allegations of sexual abuse."
The 14 referrals being investigated by the IPCC are:
:: An allegation of a potential cover up around failures to properly investigate child sex abuse offences in south London and further information about criminal allegations against a politician being dropped;
:: An allegation that an investigation involving a proactive operation targeting young men in Dolphin Square was stopped because officers were too near prominent people;
:: An allegation that a document was found at an address of a paedophile that originated from the Houses of Parliament listing a number of highly prominent individuals (MPs and senior police officers) as being involved in a paedophile ring and no further action was taken;
:: An allegation that an account provided by an abuse victim had been altered to omit the name of a senior politician;
:: An allegation that an investigation into a paedophile ring, in which a number of people were convicted, did not take action in relation to other more prominent individuals;
:: Allegations that a politician had spoken with a senior Met Police officer and demanded no action was taken regarding a paedophile ring and boys being procured and supplied to prominent persons in Westminster in the 1970s;
:: An allegation that in the late 1970s a surveillance operation that gathered intelligence on a politician being involved in paedophile activities was closed down by a senior Met Police officer;
:: An allegation that a dossier of allegations against senior figures and politicians involved in child abuse were taken by Special Branch officers;
:: Allegations that a surveillance operation of a child abuse ring was subsequently shut down due to high profile people being involved;
:: Allegations of child sex abuse against a senior politician and a subsequent cover-up of his crimes;
:: Allegations that during a sexual abuse investigation a senior officer instructed the investigation be halted and that that order had come from 'up high' in the Met;
:: An allegation of a conspiracy within the Met to prevent the prosecution of a politician suspected of offences;
:: Allegations against a former senior Met Police officer regarding child sex abuse and that further members of the establishment including judges were involved. It is claimed that no further action was taken;
:: An allegation that police officers sexually abused a boy and carried out surveillance on him. There are further allegations of financial corruption in a London borough police force.
Additional reporting by PA