MPS Commissioner cleared over Operation Midland role
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Commissioner has been cleared over complaints about her role in an investigation into false claims of a VIP paedophile ring.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was “not necessary” to look into claims Dame Cressida Dick misled the public with comments she made about Operation Midland, adding that criminal or disciplinary hearings were not justified.
The allegations referred to Operation Midland which, in 2014, saw dawn raids on the homes of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall, the late Lord (Leon) Brittan and former MP Harvey Proctor following a series of allegations that turned out to be lies.
The source of the allegations, fantasist Carl Beech, claimed that he and other boys were raped and tortured in the 1970s and 1980s and that one young boy was even murdered by members of a VIP paedophile ring. He is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud.
The IOPC received a voluntary referral from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) on December 20, 2019, following complaints about public comments by Dame Cressida regarding Operation Midland. The referral also alleged the Commissioner failed to take action to correct a statement made to the media by an Operation Midland detective.
Dame Cressida was responsible for supervising the senior investigating officer who said allegations made by Beech – which were found to be false – were “credible and true”.
The IOPC said that after reviewing the information provided it had determined that it was “not necessary to investigate these complaints”.
“We do not consider the allegation that the Commissioner deliberately misled the public regarding her role in Operation Midland requires investigation,” it added.
The IOPC said there was “no indication” she may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings.
With regard to the comments made by the senior officer, the IOPC added: “There is no material to support the allegation that the Commissioner deliberately misled the public as to MPS policy when she made comments during a radio station interview that a detective superintendent had been “pressed, pressed, pressed” by the media prior to saying that allegations made by Carl Beech were ‘credible and true’.
“The detective superintendent has acknowledged that, with hindsight, he might have used different language. The MPS Commissioner at the time attempted to correct and clarify the wording used. It is also clear that there was an underlying policy position at the time that victims alleging historical sexual abuse should be ‘believed’.
“The Commissioner has acknowledged publicly that she could or should have raised an issue with the use of the words ‘credible and true’ at the time. We do not consider that an investigation now would achieve anything more than the Commissioner’s already frank admission. Further to this, we have seen nothing to suggest that the Commissioner knew the investigation had been started on a false premise at that time, as investigations into Carl Beech’s allegations had only just begun.”
Mr Proctor was critical of the IOPC’s decision, saying it “provides even more substantial evidence that the IOPC is not fit for purpose” and the “currently flawed system” should be replaced to be “truly independent”.
The MPS has since referred itself again to the IOPC over complaints that officers had failed to fully investigate two other men for lying about being abused as children.
The IOPC said: “It is important to acknowledge that the MPS has made significant changes as a result of the review of Operation Midland by Sir Richard Henriques, and of recommendations made as a result of our own investigation [Operation Kentia] into how the force dealt with search warrants.
“This clearly was and still is a very difficult situation that has impacted Mr Proctor’s life significantly. Our assessment of the allegations and information should not detract from that fact.”