Five police officers are to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for their conduct during Operation Midland, a botched inquiry into alleged child abuse and murder by a VIP paedophile ring.
The officers are alleged to have failed to properly investigate allegations made by a complainant, ‘Nick’, which lead to an extended investigation causing prolonged and undue stress to those under suspicion.
The allegations against the officers were made in a damming report by retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques. The report looked into the Met's handling of eight historical sex crime investigations, including Operation Midland, which found a string of “significant failings”.
The £2.5 million Operation Midland probe, which closed in March, has undergone intense criticism after a series of high profile suspects were acquitted and no arrest achieved, including 92-year-old D-Day veteran Lord Bramall whose house was raided before the case was later dropped.
Scotland Yard boss Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe called in Sir Henriques in February to examine a number of investigations involving the non-recent sexual claims against public figures, including Lord Bramall, former home secretary Leon Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, stressing the examination would look at police procedure, not evidence.
The officers set to be investigated are alleged to have failed to present all relevant information to a district judge when applying for search warrants, as well as being responsible for alleged irregularities in the seizure of exhibits from searched properties.
One of the officers, a deputy assistant commissioner (DAC), is specifically alleged to have reviewed and reinvestigated allegations against Leon Brittan, which had previously been closed, without new grounds to do so.
IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said: “I have decided the allegations about the conduct of these officers should be subject to an independent investigation by the IPCC. We have requested a schedule of the documentation Sir Richard Henriques considered in writing his report.
“While Sir Richard drew his own conclusions, the IPCC will conduct its own investigation into the conduct of these officers and reach its own findings.
“Sir Richard’s report made a number of significant recommendations to the MPS and to the police service more generally. Those recommendations are for others to consider including the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs' Council and are outside our remit.
“However, I am keen to ensure that my decision to undertake an independent investigation does not cause any delay to these vital considerations, given their potential impact on public confidence in this area of policing and I will be liaising with relevant bodies to make certain that the scope of the IPCC investigation is fully understood.”
Operation Midland was launched in December 2014 after a man in his 40s, known only as 'Nick', told police he had been raped and abused by a cabal of powerful figures including MPs and senior military figures more than 30 years ago.
The operation looked into claims that sex parties were held at the exclusive Dolphin Square apartment block near the Houses of Parliament, and also looked into the alleged murder of three young boys.
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