Met creating team to deal with historical child abuse cases

By Tom Symonds
Home Affairs correspondent


The Metropolitan Police is creating a team of 90 officers and staff to tackle the increasing workload resulting from allegations of historical child abuse.

The new team will handle 29 separate allegations that previous inquiries were blocked because prominent people were identified as suspects.

It will also deal with work resulting from Justice Lowell Goddard's child abuse public inquiry.

It will consist of reorganised staff rather than new recruits.

The BBC understands the controversial Operation Midland - which is investigating claims of child abuse by establishment figures - will continue as a "standalone operation" because it is also examining allegations of child killings.

Scotland Yard has finished a routine review of the Midland investigation which began in April, partly to consider further lines of inquiry. The results have not yet been made public.

'Initial management'

The Met has made no detailed comment about Operation Midland for months. There have been reports it will be scaled back because it has not uncovered substantial evidence, despite a 10-month investigation.

In a statement on Friday the Met said the investigation involved 27 officers from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, who would remain there.

"As part of their duties they undertake on-call responsibilities where they deal with calls for initial management of new cases. The team are taking no new investigations and their main focus is on Midland," the statement said.

The inquiry began when a man in his 40s alleged he had been abused by MPs, senior figures in the security services and men of high rank in the military. As a potential victim of sexual abuse he has remained anonymous, known by the name 'Nick'.

Midland's detectives have travelled across the UK and abroad to speak to potential witnesses. They have visited, with 'Nick', a number of the locations he claims to have been taken to as a child.

Abuse claims

In December last year, following an appeal for witnesses, experienced detectives who had questioned 'Nick' said they regarded his allegations as "credible and true".

The statement has been widely criticised, most recently by the former Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald who told the Daily Mail it was a "shocking" comment which showed "how far officers have become detached from principles of objectivity and impartiality".

The Met has also been criticised by former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, who has been interviewed twice by detectives investigating the Operation Midland claims. He described the inquiry as a "witch-hunt".

A separate Suffolk Police investigation, Operation Millpond, into the claims of another man, known as 'Darren', has been halted for lack of evidence.

Suffolk Police said some of his claims, which included a description of a murder on a country estate, had been "fully investigated" but were "unsubstantiated".

Dolphin Square

'Darren' told police he had been abused by a range of people in the county, but also by senior politicians in London - at the Dolphin Square apartment complex.

However, two sources have told the BBC that when questioned by detectives, 'Darren' said he was uncertain of the identities of these politicians and as a result the police decided they could not investigate.

'Darren' denied this and also said he had not been told definitively the investigation is at an end. Suffolk Police responded that its officers had made this clear during a series of conversations with him.

One of the politicians named by 'Darren' has also been named by 'Nick', who told police last year he was abused at Dolphin Square along with other central London locations and private addresses in the late 70s and early 80s.

However 'Darren' is younger than 'Nick' and because his allegations are from the 90s, his account does not corroborate 'Nick's'.

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