Independent Police Complaints Commission largely drops investigation into Met Police handling of Operation Midland
The IPCC has announced on Budget Day that it is dropping disciplinary proceedings against most of the police officers who carried out the £3m investigation into allegations of a historic Westminster paedophile involving prominent figures, Mps and former government ministers.
In particular they have cleared all the officers facing possible disciplinary charges who investigated complaints by " Nick " who has been accused in a separate independent report of possibly perverting the course of justice by raising the allegations. This is subject to a separate investigation by Northumbria Police.
The IPCC says: "The IPCC has also discontinued its investigation into allegations the DAC, DSupt and DCI failed to properly investigate allegations made by a complainant ‘Nick’ which lead to an extended investigation causing prolonged and undue stress to those under suspicion.
There is no evidence to indicate bad faith, malice or dishonesty and no indication any of the officers may have behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings.
The information available indicates the investigation was extensive and carried out diligently with the majority of the decisions made appropriately recorded."
They have dropped complaints made by some of the people involved that the police exceeded their powers in seizing material from the homes they raided once they got search warrants.
The only investigation that will continue is into whether the police breached rules in applying for a search warrant on homes by not disclosing all the relevant information to a district judge
The Met Police did apologise to the family of Leon Brittan and other people for shortcomings in the investigation.
The full statement from the IPCC is as follows :
Following a comprehensive assessment of the available evidence relating to the conduct of five Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers linked to its Operation Midland, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has determined the scope of its investigation.
Operation Midland was an investigation into allegations of non-recent sexual offences said to have been committed by prominent public figures.
There is an indication that a detective chief inspector (DCI), a detective inspector (DI) and a detective sergeant (DS) may have behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings in that they may have failed to accurately present all relevant information to a district judge when applying for search warrants for three properties.
It has been determined that there is no such indication in respect of similar allegations against a deputy assistant commissioner (DAC) and a detective superintendent (DSupt). As a result this part of the investigation against them has been discontinued.
The IPCC has also discontinued its investigation into allegations the DAC, DSupt and DCI failed to properly investigate allegations made by a complainant ‘Nick’ which lead to an extended investigation causing prolonged and undue stress to those under suspicion. There is no evidence to indicate bad faith, malice or dishonesty and no indication any of the officers may have behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings. The information available indicates the investigation was extensive and carried out diligently with the majority of the decisions made appropriately recorded.
The MPS also referred the conduct of the DAC relating to allegations that an investigation into Lord Brittan was extended without good reason to do so thereby causing significant distress to Lord Brittan and his family. The evidence indicates a significant delay in making the decision to take no further action in the case but does not indicate the DAC may have behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings. As a result the IPCC has discontinued this part of theinvestigation.
The IPCC has also discontinued investigating allegations that there were irregularities in the seizure of exhibits during the subsequent searches. There is no evidence to indicate that any of the officers involved may have breached professional standards.
IPCC Commissioner Carl Gumsley said:
“The allegation that incomplete information may have been provided to a district judge when applying for search warrants is serious and the IPCC will thoroughly investigate this matter.
“However, a thorough assessment into the other matters that were referred to the IPCC has been carried out. After considering the information resulting from that assessment, I am of the opinion that there is no indication that these matters would amount to behaviour which would justify disciplinary proceedings. Consequently, I have taken the early decision todiscontinue the independent investigation into those matters.
“In coming to that conclusion I have been very conscious of the fact that the force has already acknowledged its shortcomings in the investigation into the late Lord Brittan and has apologised to Lady Brittan.
“It is also important to acknowledge the climate in which Operation Midland and the investigation into Lord Brittan were being undertaken. At this time there was much concern that cover-ups by the ‘establishment’ had taken place and there was widespread intense scrutiny on both investigations. The way both investigations were conducted should be considered in that context and in line with policies which existed at that time.”