Met police officer to be quizzed over historical abuse claims

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will be interviewed by MPs today regarding the force's handling of historical abuse allegations. Image: Contributed
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will be interviewed by MPs today regarding the force's handling of historical abuse allegations. Image: Contributed
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Britain’s most senior police officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, is to be quizzed by MPs today over his force’s handling of hitorical abuse allegations.

The Metropolitan Police commissioner will appear at the Commons Home Affairs committee following fierce controversy about investigations linked to prominent figures.

Scotland Yard came under fire over its inquiry, which was eventually dropped, into a claim that former home secretary Lord Brittan raped a 19-year-old woman known as “Jane” in 1967.

It was originally determined that the complaint should not be pursued in September 2013 but the investigation was reopened.

Lord Brittan, who denied the allegation, was interviewed under caution in May 2014 while suffering from terminal cancer. He died in January last year, aged 75.

Three months later officers told the complainant there would not have been a prosecution had Lord Brittan been alive and the matter was closed.

READ MORE: Abuse inquiry to meet elderly victims as matter of urgency

However, the late politician’s solicitors were not informed of this at the same time.

The force later apologised to Lord Brittan’s widow for not telling her earlier that her husband would not have been prosecuted over the allegation if he had been alive.

Sir Bernard confirmed this apology to Lady Brittan in person during a private meeting last week.

The commissioner is also likely to face questions from MPs about Operation Midland, a separate inquiry into allegations of a VIP paedophile gang.

There have been suggestions that the inquiry, which had cost £1.8 million as of November, is on the brink of collapse amid questions about the reliability of the central witness in the investigation, a man known as “Nick”.

Earlier this month it was confirmed Sir Bernard will remain in his post until at least September next year after the Home Secretary awarded him a one-year contract extension.

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