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Sat, 11 July 2020

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Priti Patel orders fresh probe into Met Police's handling of £2.5m VIP abuse investigation

Priti Patel orders fresh probe into Met Police's handling of £2.5m VIP abuse investigation
2 min read

Priti Patel is set to order police watchdogs to investigate Scotland Yard over the way it handled a long-running investigation into claims of sexual abuse by high-profile public figures.

The Home Secretary will on Thursday tell Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to review how the Metropolitan Police handled the £2.5m Operation Midland, which probed claims of a VIP abuse ring but led to no arrests.

The investigation was launched following false claims against politicians and senior military figures made by Carl Beech, who was later jailed for 18 years for offences including perverting the course of justice.

The inquiry saw the houses of public figures includes former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, former Tory MP Harvey Proctor and former Army chief Lord Brammal raided.

According to the Daily Mail, the Met Police will publish the full findings of a scathing report on its handling of the affair carried out by ex-High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques.

Ms Patel will then write to Tom Winsor, HM Inspector of Constabulary, asking him to conduct a fresh inspection of Scotland Yard and its response to that report.

According to the paper, the Cabinet minister has already hauled senior officers into the Home Office to question them over the investigation.

"No one can question the Home Secretary’s commitment to backing up the police," a source close to Ms Patel  said.

"But we must always maintain public confidence in all our institutions and ensure they are held to account."

Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick in August rejected calls for officers involved in the botched inquiry to face a new probe, warning it would be "completely improper" to launch a fresh investigation into their conduct. 

Mr Beech had told officers he was abused by an establishment ring of abusers operating in Westminster, but the judge in the case branded him "an intelligent, resourceful, manipulative and devious person" who had "accused living persons of the highest integrity and decency of vile acts".

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