Child sex abuse: Investigators announce a game change decision

The announcement by the Independent Police Complaints Commission that it is to investigate  cover ups  inside the Metropolitan Police on historical child sexual abuse inquiries is  game changing. It means not only are the Met Police convinced that evidence from survivors of a powerful paedophile ring that may have operated in Westminster and Whitehall needs investigating and people prosecuted but the Met Police conduct at the time needs to be held to account

The full statement on the IPCC  site lists no fewer than 14 allegations to be investigated going back to the 1970s. and 1980s to the early 2000s. You can read them in the release.

As the IPCC Deputy Chair Sarah Green said:

“These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature.

“We will oversee the investigations and ensure that they meet the terms of reference that we will set. 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 press release names Dolphin Square as one of the venues of the ring  and also South London – linking possible venues like Elm Guest House in Barnes  and Lambeth. It covers a number of investigations by exaro and disclosures on a closed website that  former Met  police officers working on these cases believed they had been stopped from pursuing important people.

Survivors and victims should at last be pleased that they are being taken seriously and must hope that this will really be a thorough detailed investigation that will not shy away from finding out who in the Met agreed or was told to close down such investigations .

However a word of warning it is to be – as the Danny Shaw, the BBC’s home affairs correspondent points out –  a ” managed ” inquiry – meaning that the Met police’s own Professional Standards Body will carry out the investigation into the Met police. They will be overseen by the IPCC which is hit by not having enough resources due to the austerity measures.

In some ways this investigation parallels the equally appalling murder of Daniel Morgan – current the subject of an independent panel inquiry into  the murder of the private investigator. The evidence from the Met Police finally handed over late last year should also open up inquiries into why leading figures in the Met never got a successful prosecution.

What can be said now is that these lurid allegations against MPs, senior Cabinet ministers, spies and the various churches- which some commentators believe must be false – have to be taken seriously and cannot just be ignored.

The investigation I hope will go some way to restore trust in the police to conduct such inquiries in the future and also show those who thought they could cover up matters in the 1970s and 1980s will not get away with it.

The inquiry has to be seen to be robust, transparent and thorough and getting to the root of the many scandals in the capital. If it doesn’t suspicions will remain. it will require nerves of steel  to tackle the prominent people who stand accused.

The net begins to close on the Westminster paedophile ring

As the child  sex abuse inquiry starts to take soundings from survivors a very serious development has happened for those who hoped to keep the Westminster paedophile ring dead and buried forever.

A brave survivor who has never talked to the police decided to take his courage in his hands and talk to the Met about his horrendous experiences in Dolphin Square where sexual abuse of young boys is alleged to have been combined with sadistic practices.

The survivor who has been given the name ” Nick” to protect his identity. The full story by my colleagues on Exaro was published last weekend in both the Sunday People. You can both read it in full and hear an interview with  him by editor Mark Watts  and my colleague Mark Conrad on the Exaro website.

Suffice to say they have been rumours of dark events at Dolphin Square, used for years as London flats for MPs of all parties but no one has ever testified to the police on what they alleged had happened to them.

He told Exaro that officers “are very serious” about investigating his allegations that two former Conservative MPs – including an ex-cabinet minister – and other VIPs sexually abused him as a boy at Dolphin Square and other locations.

Nick told of how the two well-known politicians raped and physically beat him after he was forced to drink alcohol. He recalled that he was taken to Dolphin Square around 10 times, from the age 11, over a period of two to three years either side of 1980.

Interestingly he also recognised the address that used to be Elm Guest House in Barnes – where the criminal investigation Operation Fernbridge began- as he place where other boys were dropped off – even though he was never abused there. This suggests there is a connection between the notorious guest house and Dolphin Square.

He is not the only person who has made allegations to Exaro about Dolphin Square but there are also other boys who must still be alive today who may also know  what happened to them there.

Given that there is now an inquiry with a remit to look at how well police investigations are conducted it is to be hoped that this time the Met will be given the time and resources to thoroughly investigate the matter. Just as Theresa May, the home secretary, has described the child abuse inquiry as a ” once in a generation ” opportunity to lay this matters to rest it is to be hoped that senior people in the Met will take their cue from her and decide they have a ” once in a generation ” opportunity to investigate  and clear up a matter that has been the subject of Westminster rumour and speculation for decades.