Leon Brittan: IPCC investigates claim of ‘cover-up’ for top Tory

Police also accused of shelving investigation into ‘VIP paedophiles’ at Elm Guest House

By Alex Varley-WinterMark Watts and Mark Conrad | 21 March 2015

‘The Operation is cancelled.’ Was the order by the Commander to our Superintendent – Former detective

Scotland Yard is under investigation for allegedly shelving operations that might have exposed former home secretary Lord Brittan as a paedophile.

Exaro can reveal that the investigation announced by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) on Monday includes allegations that the Metropolitan Police Service suppressed evidence of child sex abuse by Brittan, who died in January.

The IPCC investigation will also include claims that the Met was part of a cover-up of child sex abuse by VIPs at Elm Guest House in Barnes, south London. And it will investigate why no action was taken against Sir Peter Hayman, former deputy director of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

One police source told Exaro: “I am somewhat surprised that this did not happen much earlier.”

Brittan was already under investigation by the Met at the point of his death over multiple allegations of sexually abusing boys.

Earlier this month, detectives raided Brittan’s two homes as part of their investigation six weeks after he died. The Met carried out the raids under ‘Operation Midland’, which is investigating allegations against Brittan and other prominent people of child sex abuse as well as the claim that the former cabinet minister was present when one boy was murdered.

Brittan was buried in an unmarked grave after a “very private funeral” six days after his death.

In 2012, Exaro revealed what was then a secret investigation by the Met’s paedophile unit into Elm Guest House.

Exaro reported at the time on claims that the police had twice failed to investigate the guest house properly previously.

The IPCC’s investigation includes an allegation that police stopped an operation in relation to Dolphin Square, the apartment complex favoured by MPs, “because officers were too near prominent people.”

Media coverage last week of the IPCC’s bombshell announcement focussed on the fact that it is also investigating allegations that police halted operations that might have exposed Sir Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP who died in 2010, as a paedophile.

A series of stories by Exaro and the Sunday People at the end of last year led up to the IPCC announcement.

First, Exaro revealed in November that a former Special Branch officer had come forward to the Met’s paedophile unit to say that there was a powerful group of “untouchable” paedophiles in Parliament.

He was one of two former police officers who said that the Met had been aware of a group in Parliament who sexually abused children some decades ago, but was unable to act.

They even said that they were aware that boys were being killed by the ‘Westminster paedophile network’, but were unable to take any action because the perpetrators were so powerful.

Exaro then broke the key story in December about how several former police officers admitted in a private online forum that paedophile investigations by Scotland Yard were closed down as they started to expose VIPs.

Exaro published incendiary posts from the closed online forum for serving and former police officers.

They discussed ‘Operation Hedgerow’, which carried out surveillance from 1987 to 1989. One former officer with 30 years’ service wrote that it “got very close to Parliament”.

A Met sergeant claimed that Special Branch “shut it all down”.

A former detective said that he was part of a separate undercover operation. “Found that it went to cabinet level and 4 years of work was pulled overnight,” he posted.

A week later, Exaro revealed that former police officers who made the revealing postings on the private forum had decided to submit a dossier of statements to the Met’s commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

And there were yet more revealing posts, including recollections of another surveillance operation on paedophiles that was shelved after it tracked police officers, lawyers and even a magistrate.

One ex-detective posted: “‘The Operation is cancelled.’ Was the order by the Commander to our Superintendent. This, the day before the raids… Met wide. When asked why the reason given was ‘Because I’m a Commander… that’s why.’”

A former sergeant with 33 years’ service added another startling detail about Operation Hedgerow: “We watched one guy from the MI5 building on Piccadilly that didn’t exist.”

Link to the full ‘charge sheet’ against Scotland Yard.

Update 27 March 2015: The IPCC today announced that it was overseeing three further investigations into alleged corruption in the Met over cases concerned with child sex abuse.

With the 14 cases announced by the IPCC earlier this month, it brings the total to 17.

The IPCC said in a statement that all the cases date from the 1970’s to the 2000’s, and concern allegations of “suppressing evidence, hindering or halting investigations, and covering up the offences because of the involvement of MPs and police officers.”

The IPCC summarised what the three further investigations will cover…

1) Allegation that a child abuse investigation in central London gathered evidence against MPs, judges, media entertainers, police, actors, clergy and others. The file was submitted to start proceedings against those identified, and two months later an officer was called in by a senior Met officer and told to drop the case.

2) Allegation about police actions during a child abuse investigation in the 1980’s.

3) A related allegation about the same investigation.

The IPCC is also assessing a further six referrals received from the Met that relate to similar matters.

In addition, the IPCC also today announced a similar investigation in relation to Greater Manchester Police and the late Sir Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP who died in 2010.

Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

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