South East Wales

Ian Watkins: Inquiry asks if his fame delayed justice

Media captionWatkins could have created a 'heavily groomed clique' to protect him, according to an expert

An inquiry into whether Lostprophets' Ian Watkins' celebrity status prevented him from being brought to justice as a child sex abuser earlier is being held.

Gross misconduct notices have been served on seven police officers as part of an investigation into the handling of allegations against Watkins.

They include three from South Yorkshire Police, two from Bedfordshire Police, and two from South Wales Police.

Last year Watkins was jailed for 29 years for serious child sex offences.

Independent Police Complaints Commission commissioner Jan Williams said: "We are continuing to gather and analyse information in all three investigations in order to establish what steps were taken by police in response to the allegations made against Ian Watkins, whether he could have been brought to justice sooner and whether his celebrity status had any impact on those investigations."

Pornographic image

The Pontypridd-born Lostprophets singer was jailed after admitting a catalogue of serious sex offences involving children.

Watkins admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13 but pleaded not guilty to rape.

He also admitted conspiring to rape a child, three counts of sexual assault involving children, seven involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal.

Image caption Watkins admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13

The IPCC said it has received a substantial amount of documentation from the three forces involved which is being analysed by investigators.

The officers served with misconduct notices are:

  • A sergeant and two constables from South Yorkshire Police
  • A sergeant and constable from Bedfordshire Police over their handling of information, who have not been suspended
  • Two South Wales Police officer, including a detective constable who was attached to the Child Protection Unit, it is not known if they have been been suspended

The inquiry will look at complaints about how South Yorkshire Police handling of three reports made to the force between March and May 2012 which contained allegations against Watkins with potential evidence.

It will also scrutinise how Bedfordshire Police dealt with information from a member of the public who reported an allegation of child abuse against Watkins in October 2012.

Ms Williams said progress on the inquiry was being made.

"We have now conducted two interviews with a detective sergeant from South Wales Police about his actions in relation to information about Ian Watkins," she said.

"We anticipate he will be interviewed again in the near future."

South Wales Police and South Yorkshire Police said they were cooperating with the IPCC.

Bedfordshire Police added: "At the time of the original investigation there was insufficient evidence to apply to the magistrates for a warrant. A medical examination of the child did not reveal any evidence of abuse at that time. However, information was shared with partner agencies, including South Wales Police and child protection processes followed."

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