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Tuesday 17 March 2015

Cyril Smith’s Long Shadow

[Update at end of post]

Yesterday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) released the rather drily titled missive “IPCC to investigate allegations of historic corruption relating to child sexual abuse in the Metropolitan Police”. This told that the IPCCis to investigate 14 referrals detailing allegations of corruption in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in relation to child sex offences dating from the 1970s to the 2000s”.
Those who follow the output of Exaro News (see HERE) will know all about the allegations of child sexual exploitation (CSE) reaching back over decades, often - but not exclusively - centred on venues such as Elm Guest House and the Dolphin Square apartment complex. Many powerful figures from the worlds of politics, the media, business, and - crucially - the law enforcement authorities - are believed to have been involved.

The IPCC states in summary that “The allegations, referred by the MPS, include: Suppressing evidence; Hindering or halting investigations; Covering up the offences because of the involvement of members of parliament and police officers”. IPCC Chair Sarah Green added “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”. So what is on the referral menu?

Consider Allegation 1: “a potential cover up around failures to properly investigate child sex abuse offences in South London and further information about criminal allegations against a politician being dropped”. Now move on to Allegations 3 and 4.

That a document was found at an address of a paedophile that originated from the Houses of Parliament listing a number of highly prominent individuals (MPs and senior police officers) as being involved in a paedophile ring and no further action was taken … that an account provided by an abuse victim had been altered to omit the name of a senior politician”. Thus the background. And then came BBC Newsnight yesterday.

An undercover police operation that gathered evidence of child abuse by Cyril Smith and other public figures was scrapped shortly after the MP was arrested, BBC Newsnight has been told. The Liberal MP, who died in 2010, was held during a 1980s probe into alleged sex parties with teenage boys in south London, a source told the programme. He was allegedly released within hours of being taken to a police station” tells the Beeb.

Smith’s activities on his home turf in Rochdale are well-known (see my take, including the Private Eye splash from 1979, HERE). But now we know that he was arrested during the 1980s - and then nothing was done. Note also that the Newsnight report talks of “other public figures”. One has to also ask where on earth our free and fearless press was.

As if you need to know: typical of the responses to this news has been Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the Vagina Monologue, claiming credit for an exposé the paper failed to do at the time, then commanding readers to look over there: “How chilling to reflect, in the clampdown on Press freedom since the Leveson Inquiry, that they now face more obstacles than ever”.

There has been no clampdown. It’s from way before Leveson. The press, barring the Eye, was absent while episodes of CSE went on under their noses. That’s not good enough.

[UPDATE 1435 hours: following the IPCC's announcement, Iain Dale has made available (listen HERE) two conversations he had last Autumn on his LBC show. Both were with former Police officers.

These suggest that investigations into child abuse were stopped, on the instruction of senior officers, for what appear to have been totally arbitrary reasons - and in both cases, when public figures were being investigated.

The first of Iain's callers was prepared to name one well-known name, but did not, on the host's advice. That name was Cyril Smith]


Anonymous said...

Can we give Elm Guest House a rest now? After all, three police investigations have failed to uncover evidence of VIP involvement or child abuse. It's hard to know what else can be done to prove the wilder stories, principally spread by the mythopoeic Chris Fay, were fantasy.
So we now 'know'Cyril Smith was arrested during the 1980s. Er, actually we don't. An anonymous second hand source told Newsnight he was. This makes their investigation into McAlpine look like cutting edge investigative journalism. Never mind, satanic abuse enthusiast Clive Driscoll claimed the allegations were credible, so that's alright. Perhaps more light will be shed by the IPCC inquiries. I can't help thinking the Met referred such allegations to them in a spirit of 'put up or shut up'.

Anonymous said...

And there would never be a bitter ex-copper who hated his superiors, failed to get promotion and wanted to seek revenge for some alleged slight would there be?.
If people are going to read Exaro they need to fully read and understand that Exaro's claims emanate from a web forum of anonymous cops who may be or may nor be legit.
Yet Exaro ignores 2 coppers on that forum-one who says he was Special Branch- who pours scorn on the claims as well as being insulted on behalf of their former colleagues.
Moreover Exaro ignores that many of these claimed ex-coppers say they heard the tales in the canteen, the pub or from another copper at another station etc etc so it's gossip upon gossip, may be true, may be bullshit.
I like Zelo Street but to point to Exaro as some sort of legit source is risky. They have been ramping up the Leon Brittan claims on little proof yet you mention Private Eye in which Paul Foot adequately demolished the same claims years ago.
Exaro have a partisan dog in this race.

Tim Fenton said...

Readers who are bothered about the comments may note that the two Anonymous ones above show a distinct similarity.

As Private Eye might have asked, I wonder if they are in any way related? I think we should be told.