16 Mar 2015

What did police know about historic child sex offences?

The police watchdog is to investigate whether detectives covered up child abuse involving senior police and politicians as recently as 2005.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it is investigating 14 referrals detailing alleged corruption in the Metropolitan Police which relate to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s.

The allegations include:

  • Suppressing evidence
  • Hindering or halting investigations
  • Covering up the offences because of the involvement of members of parliament and police officers

‘Historic allegation’

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.

These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature. Sarah Green, IPCC

“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 claims – which were referred to the IPCC by the Metropolitan Police – include that the force suppressed evidence, hindered or halted investigations and covered offences because of the involvement of MPs and police officers.

‘Child abuse’

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 allegations emerged whilst officers were working on Operation Fairbank and relate to the period between 1970 – 2005.

Read more here: IPCC announcement

“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.

“Ongoing 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.”