Someone must pay for this travesty of policing

The failings of the Metropolitan Police in its botched Operation Midland paedophile investigation are gross and astonishing. On Friday, the report on Midland written by Sir Richard Henriques in 2016 was finally published in full. This laid out how Met officers made 43 major errors and wasted £2.5 million probing bogus claims by “Nick”, the paedophile and now convicted perjurer Carl Beech, who laid false claims of child-sex abuse and murder against former army head Lord Bramall, former home secretary Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

Yesterday, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) published a report exonerating the five Operation Midland officers of criminality or wrongdoing. Henriques has accordingly thrown the book at the IOPC. Its investigative process, he said, was “minimal, unprofessional and the decision-making was flawed”.  It didn’t even interview Midland’s gold commander, deputy assistant commissioner Steve Rodhouse.

Particular attention needs to be paid to the role played by Dame Cressida Dick, currently the Met’s commissioner but who, as assistant commissioner in charge of specialist crime and operations, oversaw the setting up of Midland in November 2014 and the early stages of its investigation. Yet Henriques didn’t interview her. Remarkably, he was not made aware of her role; by the time his inquiry was commissioned she had left to join the Foreign Office.

No one involved in this disaster has been held to account. Rodhouse is now director-general of operations at the National Crime Agency. Bernard Hogan-Howe, during whose tenure as Met commissioner Midland took place, was made a peer. The IOPC is not fit for purpose.

The suffering of the men who were unjustly accused is unconscionable. The whitewashing of this travesty is unbelievable. The harm done to trust in the police and the administration of justice is immeasurable.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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