Metropolitan Police to be investigated over claims of child sex abuse cover-ups because MPs and officers were involved
The police watchdog is investigating claims that Scotland Yard covered up child sex offences because of the involvement of MPs and police officers.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it is investigating 14 referrals with details of alleged corruption in the Metropolitan Police relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s.
The claims - which were referred to the IPCC by the Met Police - include that the force suppressed evidence, hindered or halted investigations and covered up offences because MPs and police officers were involved.
Sarah Green, deputy chair of the IPCC, said: "These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature.
"Allegations of this nature are of grave concern and I would like to reassure people of our absolute commitment to ensuring that the investigations are thorough and robust."
The IPCC will now manage an investigation already being conducted by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards into alleged police corruption. Scotland Yard is also investigating the original allegations of child abuse.
Among the 14 referrals is a claim that a Houses of Parliament document found at a child sex offender's address linked a number of "highly prominent individuals" including MPs and senior police officers to a paedophile ring but no further action was taken.
Another allegation is that an abuse victim's account was altered to omit a senior politician's name, while it is also alleged that no further action was taken into claims of child sex abuse involving a former senior Met Police officer and "further members of the establishment including judges".
An investigation into young men being targeted in Dolphin Square, the apartment complex popular with MPs, was also allegedly stopped because officers were "too near prominent people", the IPCC said.
Other allegations include that a surveillance operation of a child abuse ring was shut down because "high profile people" were involved, that police officers sexually abused a boy and carried out surveillance on him, and that an investigation into a paedophile ring - in which a number of people were convicted - did not take action into other "more prominent individuals".
It is also claimed a politician spoke with a senior Met police officer and demanded that no action was taken into paedophile ring and boys being procured and supplied to prominent people in Westminster in the 1970s.
There are also claims a surveillance operation gathering intelligence on a politician suspected of being involved in paedophile activities in the 1970s was closed down by a senior MPS officer, and that a senior officer instructed a sex abuse investigation to be halted after an order came from "up high" in the Met Police Service.
A further two referrals of a similar nature have been received from the Met Police and are being assessed, the IPCC said.
A Met Police spokesman said: "The Independent Police Complaints Commission have today announced they will manage the investigations by the Metropolitan Police Service's directorate of professional standards, concerning historic allegations of impropriety by police officers when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.
"The allegations emerged whilst officers were working on Operation Fairbank and relate to the period between 1970 - 2005.
"The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) recognised the severity of the allegations, and the importance of understanding whether or not our officers had in the past acted inappropriately, and therefore voluntarily referred the 16 separate allegations to the IPCC.
"Ongoing investigations and recent convictions by officers from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command have shown that the MPS is fully committed to investigating non-recent allegations of sexual abuse."
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: " Child abuse is a horrific crime and the allegations the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating are of the utmost seriousness.
"Given the gravity of the crimes being investigated, it is worrying that this is not a fully independent investigation. Instead the Met will lead this work with oversight from the IPCC.
"Surely this should be done by an independent investigator or, at the very least, an alternate force?
"For too long the voices of abused children have been ignored and the crimes against them have gone uninvestigated. In too many cases, people in a position to protect children failed to act and let them down. In the worst cases, there were attempts to undermine or discredit children reporting abuse.
"It is vital this investigation is able to get to the truth of these appalling allegations, root out anyone involved in wrongdoing and pursue criminal proceedings wherever needed."