METROPOLITAN Police commissioner Cressida Dick apologised yesterday for mistakes made during the disastrous investigation into false claims of a VIP Westminster paedophile ring.
Her apology came after former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, one of those falsely accused, branded the police watchdog’s report into five officers involved ‘a whitewash’. Ms Dick said: ‘I am deeply sorry for the mistakes that were made during our investigations into the appalling lies spun by Carl Beech. They simply should not have happened. My predecessor apologised to Lord Bramall, Lady Brittan and Harvey Proctor. I have too. I repeat that apology again today.’
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) identified ‘shortcomings and organisational failings’ but found no evidence of misconduct.
A separate review of Operation Midland by former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques identified 43 police failings after the 16-month investigation into the false claims made by Beech, then known as ‘Nick’, ended in 2016 without a single arrest. The fantasist has been jailed for 18 years after fabricating claims of rape, torture and murder by well-known names from the military, security services and politics.
Scotland Yard did not accept all of the judge’s recommendations but Ms Dick said it had ‘sought to embed all those which are relevant’.
Sir Richard found the warrants to raid the homes of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall; Lady Diana Brittan, the widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan; and Mr Proctor were ‘obtained unlawfully’ and the district judge who granted them was ‘misled’.
But the IOPC, which made 16 recommendations, found no evidence officers deliberately misled the judge.
Its director general Michael Lockwood said: ‘Did the officers involved make mistakes? Yes. Could police processes have been improved? Almost certainly. But did they deliberately exclude information to secure the warrants? Our investigation found no evidence of that.’
Mr Proctor called the IOPC report a ‘pathetic attempt to excuse the police for their mistakes, incompetence and negligence by saying they acted in good faith’ to maintain public confidence after the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Daniel Janner QC, whose late father Lord Janner was accused by Beech, said the IOPC was ‘working hand in glove with the police’ and he called for an independent inquiry.
Labour MP suspended over sexual harassment claim
AN MP has been suspended from the Labour Party while a complaint of sexual harassment against him is investigated. Stephen Hepburn, who represents Jarrow in Tyne and Wear, allegedly targeted a female party member in her 20s at a curry house in 2005, the HuffPost reported. His case has been referred to the National Constitutional Committee — Labour’s top disciplinary body. Labour said it takes complaints ‘extremely seriously’.