While controversy rages about the future of the independent panel into child sex abuse,a key development almost passed unnoticed at the end of last year.
It was the decision of former police officers in previously closed down child sex abuse inquiries to present a dossier to Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the Met police Commissioner, and to the overarching inquiry into child sex abuse when it finally starts taking evidence.
My colleague Alex Varley-Winter on Exaro produced two powerful pieces revealing both this move and the extraordinary revelations on a closed website by former police officers who investigated child sex abuse allegations during those dark days of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.. You can read her pieces on Exaro here and here. They reveal that their own investigations were ” canned” when they started to involve prominent people or politicians.
As she reports:”The participants in the two discussions are mostly former Met officers. One exceptionally identifies himself as having worked for “UK gov”, and said that he signed the Official Secrets Act. And another was a firearms instructor in the Met.
…”Across all the discussion threads published by Exaro, seven participants claim to have direct knowledge of a cover-up of VIP paedophiles. Many others say that they were told by colleagues or do not specify the basis of their claims about closed operations.”
The significance of this cannot be underestimated. At the moment the police have detailed allegations from survivors of very serious abuse and possible murders of three survivors. As Scotland Yard has already said the allegations by ” Nick” as revealed by Exaro are credible. But the police need more evidence to corroborate this to bring charges. These could come from other survivors.
But what better evidence could there be than from former police officers who could h\ave been investigating the very same allegations if they can come forward. This would provide the Crown Prosecution Service with quite separate evidence in addition to the survivors themselves.
I have a feeling that this could be a game changer in the investigations that are currently taking place across the country if these police officers are able to testify. This will make this year a very important one for all survivors of historic child sex abuse who have been denied justice for such a very long time.