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SPAC Nation: MP Steve Reed urges Met Police to reopen criminal inquiry

SPAC Nation service Image copyright @SPACNation
Image caption SPAC Nation said it had been "vindicated" by the Met Police

A decision not to pursue a criminal investigation against an evangelical church group accused of fraud and abuse was "appalling", an MP has said.

The Met said on Tuesday it was dropping its criminal case against SPAC Nation.

Croydon North MP Steve Reed, who notified the force of 12 people who alleged criminal activity by the church, wants the case to be reopened.

The Met confirmed it did not speak to all "potential informants" as some had failed to get in touch with officers.

"A number of people did not respond to several requests to contact police," it said in a statement.

In January, the London-based church, praised for helping ex-gang members, was accused of financial exploitation and fraud by Labour MP Mr Reed.

'Cursory' efforts

SPAC Nation said it had been "vindicated" by the Met's review, which found no criminal act of "fraud and other offences" had been committed by the church.

Two separate claims of fraud against individuals are being investigated by local forces, with one man arrested.

But Mr Reed said his office had since spoken to five of the 12 people he referred to the Met.

Two said police did not make contact with them at all, while three others said the contact "was cursory and no attempt was made by the police to follow up the details".

Image caption The church's leader, pastor Tobi Adegboyega, has always denied the accusations

One of the cases forwarded to the police was of a girl who complained of sexual abuse.

The MP said she received a voicemail from an officer but he left no number for her to call him back.

Mr Reed, the shadow minister for child protection and families, said he had "today passed further allegations on to the police, and "urged them to reopen the case".

In response, the Met said: "Officers made efforts to contact all potential informants, some of whom had spoken with a local MP.

"In addition, some of the information given to third parties was not corroborated when police interviewed potential witnesses or victims."

The Met said it would review its investigation "should any further information come to light".

A report by BBC Panorama last year featured former SPAC Nation members who accused the church of wrongdoing.

One claimed she was persuaded to commit benefit fraud by a trustee, while another said she had a £5,000 loan taken out in her name without her knowledge.

The church denied all the allegations.

The Charity Commission is carrying its own investigation into SPAC Nation's safeguarding and finances, while Mr Reed said he would be meeting the mayor of London next week to raise his concerns.

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