The IPCC is to investigate 14 allegations of corruption in the Metropolitan Police concerning establishment child abuse between 1970 and 2005
Scotland Yard is being investigated over explosive claims it covered up child sexual abuse by senior politicians, the police watchdog revealed today.
They include allegations uncovered by the Daily Mirror that a detective was removed from a paedophile probe in 1998 when he named a minister in Tony Blair’s government as a suspect.
The Lambeth children’s home case tops a list of 14 police corruption claims being probed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission between 1970 and 2005.
Labour MP Tom Watson tonight praised the Daily Mirror and our sister paper the Sunday People for uncovering the scandal.
Mr Watson, who sparked the police investigations by raising concerns about a cover-up of abusers linked to Westminster, said: “This is potentially a very serious milestone in pursuit of justice for survivors of serious sexual crimes.
“For many years they were dismissed as conspiracy theorists and fantasists. Now they are being taken seriously.
“All credit to the Daily Mirror and the Sunday People for digging away at this story for the last two years.”
The anti-corruption probe could see police officers, politicians and civil servants being convicted of perverting the course of justice or misconduct in public office.
It is the largest ever corruption investigation involving allegations the police protected establishment figures.
Among the 14 referrals is a claim that a police surveillance operation of a child abuse ring was shut down because former Liberal MP Cyril Smith was among the suspects.
An investigation into young men being targeted in Dolphin Square, the apartment complex popular with MPs, was also allegedly stopped because officers were “too near prominent people”, the IPCC said.
Another case involves a Houses of Parliament document found at a paedophile’s home linking a number of MPs and senior police officers to an abuse ring, but no further action was taken.
Officers are also investigating claims that an abuse victim’s account was altered to omit a senior politician’s name, while it is also alleged that no further action was taken into claims of child sex abuse involving a former senior Met Police officer and “further members of the establishment including judges”.
Another is that police officers sexually abused a boy and carried out surveillance on him.
Sarah Green, deputy chair of the IPCC, said: “These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature.
“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.”
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said: “Child abuse is a horrific crime and the allegations the IPCC is investigating are of the utmost seriousness.
“Given the gravity of the crimes being investigated, it is worrying this is not a fully independent investigation.
“Instead the Met will lead this work with oversight from the IPCC. Surely this should be done by an independent investigator or, at the very least an alternate force.
“For too long the voices of abused children have been ignored and the crimes against them have gone un-investigated.
“In too many cases, people in a position to protect children failed to act and let them down. In the worst cases, there were attempts to undermine or discredit children reporting abuse.
“It is vital this investigation is able to get to the truth of these appalling allegations, root out anyone involved in wrongdoing and pursue criminal proceedings wherever needed.”
Campaigning MP Simon Danczuk said: “I’m not surprised that the IPCC has taken the decision to investigate this.
“Really this is a significant development in what has been the whole story around the historic child sex abuse around Westminster.
“If what I’ve been told over the last couple of years is true then it does indeed involve senior politicians.
“I think we are on the cusp of finding out exactly what went on in the 70s and 1980s and I’m sorry to say that I think it will be shown that senior politicians were involved in abuse and there was a cover-up.
“I think that’s inevitable now.”
How the Mirror and People have led the way
An undercover police operation that had gathered evidence of child abuse by Cyril Smith was scrapped shortly after detectives moved in to make arrests, BBC Newsnight has reported.
Detectives investigating sex parties involving boys in the 1980s allegedly took the Liberal MP to a police station, but released him within hours.
Officers were then ordered to hand over all the evidence and warned to keep quiet or face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
The squad suspected boys from care homes were being provided “to order” for sex.
The Daily Mirror has revealed how one of Tony Blair’s ministers was among a group of men suspected of sexually abusing children at a home run by a convicted paedophile.
The police probe was halted soon after an ex-social services boss told police of the politician’s alleged visits in the early 1980s.
Two former Lambeth social services employees involved in the case suspect a cover-up because experienced detective Clive Driscoll was removed from the investigation and given other duties in 1998.
Allegation of child sex abuse by MPs and other VIPs at luxury flats in the shadow of Westminster were revealed by the Sunday People.
Detectives are probing chilling claims of “abuse parties” at Dolphin Square, where many MPs had homes. They are also examining allegations that children were murdered by the abuse ring.
The Met launched the fresh investigation after the Sunday People revealed the accounts of two men who said they were abused in the flats more than 30 years ago.
An alleged victim of a Westminster paedophile ring told police Leon Brittan had abused him more than a dozen times.
The witness, known as Nick, said he also saw most of his friends molested by the former Home Secretary, who died in January, aged 75.
Nick identified Mr Brittan as being present at VIP abuse parties when he spoke to the investigative website Exaro.
Asked how he knew who he was, Nick said: “He told me. Not his full name. He told me it was Leon.” As he got older, he had realised it was Brittan.
The 14 referrals being investigated by the IPCC are allegations that:
- There was 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 investigation involving a proactive operation targeting young men in Dolphin Square was stopped because officers were too near prominent people.
- 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 account provided by an abuse victim had been altered to omit the name of a senior politician.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A dossier of allegations against senior figures and politicians involved in child abuse were taken by Special Branch officers.
- A surveillance operation of a child abuse ring was subsequently shut down due to high profile people being involved.
- Child sex abuse against a senior politician and a subsequent cover-up of his crimes.
- 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.
- A conspiracy within the Met to prevent the prosecution of a politician suspected of offences.
- No further action was taken following allegations against a former senior Met Police officer regarding child sex abuse and that further members of the establishment including judges were involved
- 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.