Police watchdog will investigate child abuse claims

New recruits join the Metropolitan Police, which referred itself to the IPCC. Picture: Getty

New recruits join the Metropolitan Police, which referred itself to the IPCC. Picture: Getty

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THE police watchdog is investigating claims that Scotland Yard covered up child sex offences because of the involvement of MPs and police officers.

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

The claims – which were referred to the IPCC by the London force – include that the Met suppressed evidence, hindered or halted investigations and covered up offences because MPs and police officers were involved.

Sarah Green, deputy chairwoman of the IPCC, said: “These allegations are of historic[al], 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.”

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.

Among the 14 referrals 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 officer and “further members of the establishment including judges”.

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.

Other allegations include that a surveillance operation of a child abuse ring was shut down because “high profile people” were involved, that police officers sexually abused a boy and carried out surveillance on him, and that an investigation into a paedophile ring – in which a number of people were ­convicted – did not take action into other “more prominent ­individuals”.

It is also claimed a politician spoke to a senior Met police officer and demanded no action was taken into a paedophile ring and boys being procured and supplied to prominent people in Westminster in the 1970s.

A Met Police spokesman said: “The allegations emerged while officers were working on Operation Fairbank and relate to the period between 1970 and 2005.

“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 allegations to the IPCC.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called for a full independent investigation into the allegations.

“Given the gravity of the crimes being investigated, it is worrying that 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 uninvestigated.

“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.”

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