UK

Met Police finds 'no evidence' in Kids Company abuse inquiry

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Media captionCamila Batmanghelidjh: "These allegations were completely unfounded"

A Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of abuse at UK charity Kids Company has been closed after it found no evidence of criminality.

Officers carried out "extensive inquiries" into claims of physical and sexual abuse at the now closed south London-based charity, but found no evidence to reach the threshold for criminal prosecution, a statement said.

No-one was interviewed under caution or arrested during the inquiry, it said.

Kids Company always denied the claims.

The children's charity, which was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996, and had centres in London, Liverpool and Bristol, closed in August after questions over its management and finances.

'Grateful to police'

Ms Batmanghelidjh said she "burst into tears" when police told her about their investigation.

"That's the reason the charity closed. We had money confirmed. But the philanthropists said they couldn't support us when we were informed there were allegations," she said.

"I'm very grateful to the police for acting honourably and fairly. I now think there needs to be an inquiry into how this situation came about, why was it in the hands of Newsnight and what happened after that and why weren't we properly informed."

The investigation into Kids Company was believed to have been triggered by claims made by a former employee to a BBC Newsnight and BuzzFeed News investigation.

An independent expert advised the BBC that the claims raised concerns about the safeguarding of young people. Details from the interview were passed to the authorities, with the former employee's consent.


What happened to Kids Company?

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The charity - which relied on individual donations and government grants - closed after concerns were raised about its financial management and general administration.

Kids Company said its finances had become stretched because of the great number of children "pouring through our doors" for help.

But donors had been steadily withdrawing support, alarmed by stories of mismanagement.

Ms Batmanghelidjh said one donor who had offered £3m pulled out after learning of the allegations for which police have now concluded there is no evidence.

Last summer, the charity said it wanted to restructure and sought new funds from the government and donors.

But it closed in August when ministers finally pulled the plug, rejecting further funding.

Read more on the fall of Kids Company


The Met said it launched the investigation after receiving information from a journalist in July, and detectives from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command investigated 32 pieces of information covering a period from 2008 to 2015.

The majority were "third party reports which were vague in detail", the Met said.

Officers did not find any evidence of failings by the charity in its duty to safeguard children or vulnerable adults.

One of the reports concerned an incident which had previously been investigated by police, the Met said.

It resulted in a male adult user of the charity receiving a three-month suspended sentence for assaulting a member of staff.


Kids Company timeline of events

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June 2015: Concerns raised by the Cabinet Office about Kids Company's request for a £3m government grant, but ministers approve the funding

July 2015: Ms Batmanghelidjh steps down, denying the charity has been mismanaged. The Met Police launches an investigation into allegations of failings and abuse linked to the charity.

August 2015: Ministers say they want to recover the government grant. The charity closes. Ms Batmanghelidjh tells the BBC that Kids Company was subjected to a "trial by media"

October 2015: Ms Batmanghelidjh and Kids Company chairman Alan Yentob (at the time also a BBC executive) appear before the Commons Public Administration Committee and again deny the charity was badly run. The National Audit Office says the charity received at least £46m of public money despite repeated concerns over its management

January 2016: The Met Police says it has concluded its investigation into allegations against the charity, and concluded there is no evidence of criminality

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