As it is revealed the IPCC has dropped its investigation into the Met Police’s handling of the investigation into historic child abuse and “buried” the news to coincide with Philip Hammond’s budget, it is time Theresa May and those running the IICSA investigation were held to account
A woman named Jo Moore is someone you’ll either never have heard of or someone you’ll have likely forgotten. At 2.55pm GMT (9.55am EDT) on 11th September 2001, after both World Trade Center Towers in New York had been hit in terrorist attacks (but before either tower had actually collapsed), this then British special advisor emailed the press office of the Transport, Local Government and Regions Secretary, where she worked, and remarked: “It’s now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury. Councillors’ expenses?”
Ms Moore’s advice was followed and though, after her actions were subsequently exposed, she was publicly shamed and apologised, it was not until February 2002 that she actually resigned (after being caught also attempting to “bury” yet more unfavourable news on the day of the funeral of Princess Margaret).
Yesterday, those close to Theresa May’s government appeared to follow the same course of action and whilst the press were going into overdrive over Philip Hammond’s budget, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) were able to quietly push out news unnoticed that they were to drop “disciplinary proceedings against most of the police officers who carried out the £3 million investigation allegations of a historic Westminster paedophile ring involving prominent figures, MPs and former government ministers”.
Largely ignored by all elements of the media, but thankfully highlighted by the bold, crusading journalist David Hencke, this is an important story that should have made the front page. It did not, but as Hencke pointed out in an article on his blog, the IPCC yesterday stated:
“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… There is no evidence to indicate that any of the officers involved may have breached professional standards”.
IPCC Commissioner Carl Gurney added:
“It is also important to acknowledge the climate in which Operation Midland [was] 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”.
Mrs May, as Home Secretary, was the woman charged with the remit of establishing an inquiry into historical abuse by powerful people in general and politicians in particular. Given the potentially damaging ramifications for senior members of her own party, it was plainly an investigation the Lady Macbeth of modern day politics did not want and that she allowed what will be a £100 million inquiry to proceed in such a slapdash manner speaks volumes.
Three chairs of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) appointed under the now Prime Minister’s tenure came and went and aside from the financial cost that resulted, faith in this investigation went south. The rubbishing of the police during this process resulted in the nonsencial disciplinary hearings that were shown for what they were yesterday and that this news was “buried” Jo Moore style is a disgrace. It is time that victims of the powerful got justice and it is time those, including Mrs May, were held accountable for the disgraceful manner in which the IICSA has been run to date.