All the police officers in the Met who hounded public figures over child sex abuse allegations, and obtained search warrants illegally, were cleared of wrong-doing in a report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), published on 7 October. The officers concerned were not even interviewed by the IOPC. So far the government has done nothing to bring the IOPC to book. The need for action is not confined to London, as Alistair Lexden pointed out in a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on 10 October.
SIR - Allison Pearson’s review (October 9) of the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s hopeless report on blunders committed by senior Met officers during Operation Midland leads her to conclude, quite rightly, that “Priti Patel simply cannot allow this appalling whitewash to go unchallenged”.
The only comments so far from the Home Office have come from her junior ministers, who have dealt very gently with the IOPC. On October 8, Baroness Williams of Trafford assured its critics in the Lords that “progress has been made and we expect that trajectory to continue”. There was no hint that the Government might take any action. Astonishingly, she told critics of Cressida Dick that “it is a matter for the Metropolitan Police to hold the Commissioner to account”.
At least the public figures traduced as child sex abusers by the Met have been freed from the slurs inflicted on them, thanks to the courageous report by Sir Richard Henriques. Something similar is now needed to secure justice for Sir Edward Heath, who was the victim of police misconduct during Operation Conifer, when Wiltshire’s chief constable reportedly said he was “120 per cent certain” the former prime minister was guilty of child sex abuse. Seven unsubstantiated allegations were left open. Was this to save the chief constable’s face?
Baroness Williams has repeatedly turned down calls for an independent inquiry, despite overwhelming support in the Lords. There is much work for Priti Patel to do.
Lord Lexden (Con)