Police investigate 76 politicians over claims of child sex abuse

NPCC: suspects include 261 ‘people of public prominence’ – 135 from TV, film or radio

By Mark Watts and Mark Conrad | 28 May 2015

Police across the country are between them investigating allegations of child sex abuse by 76 politicians and 135 people from television, film or radio.

They are among 261 “people of public prominence” who are under police investigation over allegations of child sex abuse, which also includes 43 from the music industry and another 7 from the world of sport.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), which co-ordinates operations that tackle “the most serious and strategic threats” across the country, disclosed the details in a formal statement on Wednesday last week.

“We have responded to criticism, changed how we engage with victims and how we investigate abuse”
– Statement, National Police Chiefs’ Council

It said that there were a total of 1,433 suspects in investigations into child sex abuse within institutions, including the 261. Of the 1,433 total, 216 are dead.

The figures were gathered by ‘Operation Hydrant’ which since last summer has been taking a co-ordinating role for police investigations throughout the UK that are focussed on child sex abuse.

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary, who is the NPCC’s lead for investigations into child abuse, said: “These figures are stark. They indicate the scale of child abuse with which police are dealing.

“Much public and media focus has been on horrors committed by well-known personalities, groups, gangs or in institutions, but the vast majority of victims are abused by family members or friends.

“Police have done a huge amount to meet the challenge: we have responded to criticism, changed how we engage with victims and how we investigate abuse. Many victims have now found confidence to report abuse, knowing that we will treat them sensitively, respectfully, listen to them and take reports of their abuse seriously. I would encourage all victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report their abuse.

“We face a massive challenge — in terms of resources, time and expertise — to balance offering routes to justice for those who have suffered in the past while safeguarding and protecting children in a vulnerable position now.

“We cannot measure protecting children and the vulnerable by the number of arrests and prosecutions, the issue is much more complex. Everyone — teachers, GPs, parents and other adults — have a responsibility to spot the signs of abuse and act.”

The NPCC said that 357 institutions are under investigation over allegations of child sex abuse, including 154 schools, 75 children’s homes, 40 religious institutions, 14 medical establishments, 11 youth clubs and other community groups, 9 prisons or young offenders’ institutions, 9 sports venues and 28 other institutions such as military and guest houses.

It studied figures since 2012 from 12 police forces within England and Wales. It then extrapolated across all 43 forces in England and Wales, projected at the end of this year.

The police caseload for reports of child sex abuse had increased 71 per cent in the last three years, according to the NPCC.

Police Scotland, in a separate statement, said that it was investigating allegations against 37 “persons of public prominence” of child sex abuse. These include four from the world of television, film or radio, the rest “are listed as having a Significant Public Profile nationally or locally.”

It said that there were a total of 110 suspects in 58 separate operations into child sex abuse within institutions. Of these, 26 are dead.

The statement also said that 45 institutions are under investigation over allegations of child sex abuse. These include 17 educational, 16 social-care and 7 faith-based institutions.

The figures come as Sussex police refers itself for investigation over how it pursued enquiries over the murder of schoolboy Vishal Mehrotra.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmed that it had received the referral amid claims that the eight-year-old boy’s abduction and murder were linked to the ‘Westminster paedophile network’.

In March, the IPCC announced that it is overseeing 17 cases of alleged cover-ups by the Met in paedophile investigations into prominent people, including the late Lord Brittan, former home secretary.

The IPCC has announced similar investigations into Greater Manchester Police over the late Sir Cyril Smith, the former Liberal MP, and Leicestershire Police over Lord Janner, the former Labour MP.

Last week, Exaro disclosed that Janner was re-appointed to Parliament’s joint committee on consolidation bills last June despite being “too ill” with dementia to be interviewed by police.

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

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