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Met Police creates team to deal with historical abuse cases

The Metropolitan Police is setting up a specific team in response to the growing demands of a number of historical abuse inquiries.

It is expected it will comprise about 90 staff, with some in place already, Scotland Yard said.

News of the move came a day after Special Branch and senior police were accused of sinking investigations into historical child sex abuse by VIPs, MPs and officers.

The police watchdog set out 12 new cases relating to the Met's investigation of paedophile activities spanning four decades.

It means 29 separate claims are being assessed in a probe conducted by the force and overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), while a decision has not been made on how another 18 will be dealt with.

The inquiry, mainly sparked by allegations made by retired Met officers, will examine suggestions that evidence was suppressed, investigations halted and offences covered up because of the involvement of MPs, VIPs and police officers

Scotland Yard has said that since March it has referred a total of 47 allegations to the IPCC concerning historical allegations of impropriety by police officers when dealing with sexual abuse between 1970 and 2005.

The new police team will also help the inquiry into historical abuse claims being led by the New Zealand judge, Justice Lowell Goddard.

And it will assist Operation Fairbank, which is looking into allegations of abuse involving senior politicians and high-profile figures, and Operation Yewtree, the probe set up in the wake of the scandal over the DJ Jimmy Savile.

A Yard spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service is in the process of establishing a specific team in response to the combined demands of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse led by Justice Goddard, the investigations following our referrals to the IPCC and the ongoing related criminal investigations relating to Operations Fairbank and Yewtree.

"It is anticipated that this team will comprise of about 90 staff, with some staff in place already."

The latest developments come amid questions about current inquiries linked to historical abuse.

The Daily Mail reported that an internal investigation has been launched into Operation Midland, which comes under the umbrella of Operation Fairbank, after detectives found no evidence that establishment figures were responsible for killing three boys.

Last month former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, who has been questioned over the claims, insisted he was a victim of a "homosexual witch hunt".

Former prime minister Sir Edward Heath and ex-home secretary Leon Brittan, both now dead, have also been named in connection with the probe.

The complex web of inquiries took a dramatic twist last month when it emerged that an alleged cover-up of child sex allegations against Sir Edward was at the centre of a corruption probe into Wiltshire Police.


From Belfast Telegraph