18:54 GMT20 September 2020
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    The Commissioner of the UK Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has asked a former High Court judge to examine the way historic sexual allegations against public figures are investigated, in the wake of allegations of favoritism, cover-ups and unfairness.

    The probe — led by Sir Richard Henriques — follows a series of complaints against the Met, including — most recently — allegations that it had treated former Field Marshall Lord Bramall unfairly during an investigation into allegations of sex abuse. Lord Bramall said his house was very publicly raided and his identity was tipped-off to the media, which Hogan-Howe denies. No charges were brought against Lord Bramall.

    The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is currently investigating 29 allegations of corruption in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and one allegation detailing corruption in Essex Police. All relate to child sex offences dating from the 1970s to the 2000s and include allegations about suppressing evidence, hindering or halting investigations and covering up the offences because of the involvement of members of parliament and police officers.

    The allegations include an investigation into a pedophile ring in south-west London in the 1970s that was shut down prematurely on the instruction of senior or high-ranking officers; allegations that evidence, relating to child abuse at a youth club in 1980s and 1990s that involved politicians and council officers, went missing from a London police station; and allegations that an investigation into a west London pedophile ring in the 1980s had evidence removed and was threatened with closure by a senior officer if it uncovered evidence against VIPs.

    Judge Henriques last month published his report into the investigation into Lord Greville Janner, the veteran Labour Party Peer, who should have faced multiple child sex abuse charges twice in the past, but avoided trial due to Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) mistakes. The CPS admitted it had been wrong not to prosecute Lord Janner, first in 1991 and again in 2007, and initially said it would currently not be in the public interest to do so as the 86-year-old was suffering from severe dementia.

    More Investigations

    UK Home Secretary Theresa May ordered a new inquiry into the rumors of historic sex abuse after the collapse of two previous inquiries into allegations that government ministers, parliament, police, councils, churches and schools among others failed to identify and protect child children from child abuse from 1970 up to the present day. 

    In July 2014, judge Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss stood down as head of the inquiry just days after her appointment by May because her late brother was Attorney-General, the government's chief legal adviser, in the 1980s when some of the abuse cases are alleged to have taken place.

    Two months later May selected Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of the City of London to head up another inquiry, but her position came into question when it was disclosed she had social links to Leon Brittan, who was home secretary in charge of the police in the government of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Brittan was accused of the rape of a 19-year-old woman in 1967, but state prosecutors dropped the case through insufficient evidence, although they had not told Brittan this at the time of his death in 2015.

    In February 2015, May appointed New Zealand high court judge Justice Lowell Goddard to chair the new inquiry which was placed on a statutory footing under the 2005 Inquiries Act, with the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.


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    Pedophile ring, sex assault, rape, child abuse, investigation, pedophiles, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Great Britain, United Kingdom
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