Why police whistleblowers will be crucial to getting to the truth of historical child sex abuse

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.

11 thoughts on “Why police whistleblowers will be crucial to getting to the truth of historical child sex abuse

  1. Apologies for butting in again, having pledged not to. But this damned eye for detail of mine obliges me to point out the mistaken use of the word “collaborate” (when one would hope you meant to write “corroborate”).

    As this is the second time this has occurred, and seeing as the difference between the two should be of the utmost importance to anyone engaging in ‘investigative journalism’, I’ll offer the following:

    Corroborate:

    This is generally held to be the bedrock upon which all serious investigations rest.
    It takes place when two or more individual sources independently confirm the same fact.
    An example would be persons unknown to one another making the exact same claim about a particular event.

    Collaborate:

    Although considered to be something positive within a team-work environment, the danger of cross-contamination of evidence means its use should be avoided wherever possible when dealing with potential witnesses or sources of information which may have a role to play in any serious investigation.
    Collaboration – if discovered – could call into question the whole basis of that investigation if, for example, two or more witnesses were shown to have colluded in the gestation of what came to be their story/claim.

    A completely hypothetical example might be where an associate of Witness 1 – let’s call him Witness 2 – stokes up a discussion in an online forum (let’s use Facebook for our example) based solely on the claims of W1. W2 then ensures that the results of said stoking are relayed to Witness 3. W3 presents the information gleaned but without mentioning this pre-planned chain of events.
    The dangers should be obvious as any doubt cast on the credibility of any of the individual ‘links’ risk the ‘chain’ flying off the cog & leave the whole thing going exactly nowhere, oil all over the trouser leg…

    Luckily, we have nothing to fear as the “closed website” story mentioned above bears no resemblance to that just described. Phew!

    If in doubt, just remember that those pesky Nazi collaborators were punished when their exploits were independently corroborated. Simple!

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    • Quite right, ‘Bandini’: investigative journalist, eh? Collaborate/corroborate – apolcalyptic/apopleptic … Tut tut: bet he failed his 11 plus.

      This bicycle of yours, however: is it yours, in fact, or someone else’s? Or is it perhaps a tandem, and if so, who is doing the pedalling?

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      • Mine’s a unicycle, Mrs Angry, powered solely by these powerful legs of mine, twin pistons of Truth & Justice!

        Once mastered, this oft-ridiculed vehicle offers an unsurpassable level of manouverability – very useful for a-bobbin’ an’ a-weavin’ inbetween the participants backstage of this circus.

        “But even so / an occasional toe / by the tyre’s taught tread / is thereupon trod…”

        It can’t be helped, really, and the fault lies with those determinedly wearing size-40 clown-shoes, when authentic gum-shoes only go up to size-12.

        The unicycle, of course, has no chain to break nor oil to sully. Stain-free & pristine, that’s me.

        P.S. Simon “Pratfall” Danczuk recently spotted beating egg-yolks in his office playpen with sad faced bozo. No doubt the cleaning up will be left for others…

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    • You wrote: ” 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. “.

      If these three children were murdered they cannot be deemed to be survivors. I understand that I too make these sorts of mistakes late at night or in a hurry, but an amendment to ‘victims’ might be justified on this occasion.

      Well worth reading and thank you for the article. What precisely is happening on Greville Janner though? The sort of protection begged by Edward Garnier on behalf of Lady Brittan and reported by Simon Danczuk MP appears to undermine confidence in any enquiry.

      If police have enough evidence I really don’t think it worthwhile waiting for any enquiry to start. Surely if sufficient evidence exists to gain a conviction the police should immediately refer the evidence to the CPS for prosecution.

      Kicking their heels waiting for the botched enquiry to be thoroughly compromised in the hands of a suspiciously recalcitrant and reluctant Home Office is not going to imbue the public with any confidence.

      Perhaps the appointment of two unsuitable women to head this enquiry was a deliberate ploy to kick this issue into oblivion. I am certainly suspicious that it was, but the police have no excuse for dragging their heels in tandem with the Home Office.

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