Police immunity calls over ‘paedophile cover-up’

The late Cyril Smith MP, part of alleged sex ring. Picture: Getty
The late Cyril Smith MP, part of alleged sex ring. Picture: Getty
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THE Prime Minister is facing calls to guarantee that police and intelligence officers who give evidence over an alleged VIP paedophile ring in Westminster will not be prosecuted.

The move came after claims were made on the BBC’s Newsnight that officers who arrested Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith on suspicion of hosting sex parties with teenage boys were warned to keep quiet about the investigation or face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.

If they feel inhibited by the Official Secrets Act, it’s disgraceful

Clive Driscoll

Yesterday Tom Watson, the Labour MP who first spoke out in Parliament about a Westminster paedophile ring in October 2012, urged David Cameron to shield whistleblowers from that law.

Mr Watson said: “It is now clear that the Prime Minister must guarantee that former police and intelligence officers who wish to help the IPCC with their inquiries will have the threat of the Official Secrets Act lifted.

“With this new inquiry it is also clear that the duty of all former police officers, intelligence officers and civil servants who have knowledge of a cover-up to come forward.”

On Monday it emerged that Scotland Yard is being investigated over claims that it covered up child sex abuse because of the involvement of influential MPs and police officers.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is looking into 14 referrals with details of alleged corruption in the Metropolitan Police relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s.

Among the allegations being investigated by the IPCC is a claim that a Houses of Parliament document found at a child sex offender’s address linked a number of “highly prominent individuals” including MPs and senior police officers to a paedophile ring but no further action was taken.

Another allegation is 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”.

An investigation into young men being targeted in Dolphin Square, an apartment complex near the Houses of Parliament popular with MPs, was also allegedly stopped because officers were “too near prominent people”.

Last July Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced a major public panel inquiry into whether paedophiles were sheltered in government, the NHS, police, the courts and the BBC.

The inquiry is currently being chaired by Justice Dame Lowell Goddard, a New Zealand high court judge.

Monday’s edition of Newsnight revealed that the programme had received the information about the Cyril Smith investigation from a former officer familiar with the original investigation and its closure.

It claimed that police officers brought Smith in for questioning in connection to an inquiry in the early 1980s into properties in south London suspected of hosting paedophile parties.

He was released within hours of being taken to a police station and officers were ordered to hand over notebooks and video footage, according to the claims.

It is believed that the tenth of the 14 referrals made to the IPCC – over “allegations of child sex abuse against a senior politician and a subsequent cover-up of his crimes” – relates to Smith.

Clive Driscoll, a retired Scotland Yard detective who investigated child abuse allegations in Lambeth and has now examined the Cyril Smith cover-up claims, branded any threat to use the Official Secrets Act against officers who want to come forward to tell the truth as “disgraceful”.

He said: “If it’s true that there are officers that want to come forward but they feel inhibited by the Official Secrets Act, it’s disgraceful.

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