Sir Cliff Richard joined calls for a “complete review of police procedures”, condemning the fact he was named in public over sexual abuse allegations before being charged.
He made the remarks yesterday after prosecutors announced he will face no further action over allegations of historical sex abuse
The Crown Prosecution Service said it had decided there was “insufficient evidence to prosecute”.
Sir Cliff said he was “obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close”. But he said his naming by the media despite not being charged meant he had been “hung out like live bait”.
Four men claimed offences took place between 1958 and 1983, the CPS said.
The singer’s Berkshire home was raided by South Yorkshire Police detectives in August 2014, an operation broadcast live on the BBC following an apparent tip-off that the search was taking place. He was identified without ever being arrested or charged.
Calling for change, Sir Cliff said: “Other than in exceptional cases, people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charged.
“I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like ‘live bait’. It is obvious that such strategies simply increase the risk of attracting spurious claims which not only tie up police resources and waste public funds, but they forever tarnish the reputations of innocent people.”
The 75-year-old pop star is among a number of high-profile individuals who were named in connection with historical sex offences and then never charged, a practice that has been widely criticised.
Comedians Jim Davidson and Jimmy Tarbuck were both accused of sexual offences before police dropped investigations.
Radio presenter Paul Gambaccini was kept on police bail for 12 months after being arrested on suspicion of historical sex abuse in 2013, before being told he would not be charged.
David Davis MP – who has championed reform of how sexual offences are prosecuted – backed the call for a review of police procedures.
He said: “In light of another high-profile arrest which resulted in no prosecution, it is time for a complete review of police procedures surrounding high-profile sex abuse cases.”