Saturday. 29 November 2014

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Police keep failing ‘to follow evidence’ in abuse cases, say MPs

Call for wide inquiry into ‘schools, churches, children’s homes, politicians and celebrities’

Seven MPs from across the political divide want an inquiry into child sex abuse because of “failure by the police to follow the evidence”.

The cross-party group of MPs has written a joint letter to Theresa May, home secretary, urging her to set up an independent panel to hold a national inquiry into the issue.

They write: “We would ask you to set up an independent panel, similar to the inquiry you established into the Hillsborough tragedy, with powers to demand the release of all and any material from every agency involved.

“We would like such a panel to work with the many victims of child sexual abuse from local authority care, the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches and schools, including public schools, to uncover the facts.”

Most alarming is a consistent theme of the reluctance or, more worryingly, the seeming complicity of police and other agencies

Tim Loughton, former children’s minister

The MPs say that the panel should examine: “Why detailed dossiers – such as the documents submitted to the Home Office by the late Geoffrey Dickens [then a Conservative MP] – have disappeared.

“Why police surveillance videos – said to be of prominent people who have been involved in paedophile rings – have gone missing.

“Why child pornography videos seized by HM Customs and Excise have been lost or destroyed.

“Why investigations appear repeatedly to have been stalled or abandoned over the last 30 years.”

Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative who is best known for campaigning on environmental issues, co-ordinated fellow MPs to press the home secretary for a national inquiry.

The group includes Tim Loughton, Conservative MP and children’s minister in the Department for Education in David Cameron’s government from 2010 to 2012, a post that he shadowed in opposition for seven years.

He told Exaro: “Virtually every week, the public is bombarded with new stories about sexual abuse of children coming to light, yet they stretch as far back as the 1960’s.

“Few areas have been left untouched with increasingly alarming stories involving schools, churches, care homes, entertainment, sport and of course politicians and celebrities.

“Most alarming is a consistent theme of the reluctance or, more worryingly, the seeming complicity of police and other agencies to investigate the allegations seriously, and pursue the perpetrators rigorously.

“Documents go missing and investigations are curtailed with a chilling frequency, and that now threatens a serious undermining of the public’s confidence in our current child-protection system despite all the progress that has undoubtedly been made in recent years.”

Labour’s Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk have also signed the letter. Watson first raised claims in Parliament of sexual abuse by leading political figures in the wake of the exposure of Jimmy Savile, the late BBC star, as a paedophile.

Watson said: “There is a growing consensus among MPs of all political parties that the party leaders should agree to resource adequately searching investigations into historical allegations of child sexual abuse.

“The failure to act needs to be urgently addressed, and there is a belief that much more needs to be done to uncover what has happened in previous investigations.”

Danczuk co-wrote a book, ‘Smile for the Camera,’ exposing the paedophile life of Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP who died in 2010. He revealed details of how Smith had sexually abused one boy at Elm Guest House, which operated as a paedophile brothel in Barnes, south-west London. Danczuk is MP for Rochdale, Smith’s former constituency.

Danczuk is due to give evidence later this month to the House of Commons home affairs committee about the long-term impact of Smith’s activities on the grooming of children in Rochdale for sexual abuse.

He told Exaro: “I am pleased that we have politicians from across the political divide who are coming together to try to get to the bottom of what is a murky and nasty abuse of power.

“As we have seen from the story that we told about Cyril Smith, there was a network at the highest level that was out to protect him at every turn. We now need the home secretary to step up to the mark and instigate an investigation that leaves no stone unturned. I look forward to seeing what her response is.”

Meanwhile, the Met is under pressure to explain why its officers failed to follow a key guideline for rape cases while investigating a former cabinet minister.

If you have information that might help our investigation, please contact us. Keep re-visiting Exaro for more on this investigation. Our Twitter followers @ExaroNews have begun asking their MPs whether they back the inquiry call. Let us know your MP’s response by tweeting to us or e-mail news@exaronews.net.

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