The Blog

British Police: Pre-election Scapegoats in Establishment Child Abuse Cover Up?

Little wonder then, that just before a general election, it has been politically expedient to shine the 'cover up spotlight' on a battered, bruised and demoralised police service.

As headlines spewed out from the media concerning 'establishment abuse' cover ups by Scotland Yard, hard working, incorruptible front line officers could only hang their heads in despair as mud once again splattered over them as the result of the Independent Police Complaints Commission 'revelations.'

In fact there was virtually nothing in the IPCC's statement that was not already in the public domain and, given that the organisation has little credibility amongst either police or public, can only lead to speculation that the inevitable headlines are more of an attempt at self publicity rather than addressing the real issues.

Whilst, courtesy of the IPCC, media headlines speak of a 'police cover up' it is of course anything but. All the evidence unearthed thus far clearly points to an establishment cover up during which a small section of police officers were pulled around like puppets on a string by those who were and may indeed remain untouchable.

Police officers in the 70's and 80's loathed and detested paedophiles in the same way as police do today and the fury of officers being told to drop allegations must have been palpable. Every police officer in the Met in the 80's knew of the allegations surrounding Cyril Smith which were the subject of much dark humour and we all waited for something to happen but it never did. Even his now reported arrest never became the subject of any form of 'Chinese whispers' which is unusual in police circles.

Back in August it was suggested (by me) that Special Branch would feature prominently in any investigation. This was simply due to the fact that a) any sensitive issue involving policing, even when not within their remit, inevitably landed upon the desks of less than enthusiastic Special Branch senior officers and b) Special Branch were the operational arm of the security service.

Journalists obtaining details of investigations found their records seized and were threatened with prosecution while local officers investigating establishment abuse allegations found their files seized by Special Branch officers amidst warnings of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if they broke their silence.

Other police child abuse investigations were shut down by senior officers yet is it seriously being suggested that closing down these investigations into serious crime allegations were instigated by senior police officers, be they Special Branch or otherwise, of their own volition?

Most serving and retired police officers believe that, assuming investigations are able to be completed, it will be the 'great and the good' from sections of the British establishment including government who will be culpable. There is a certainty that investigations will reveal it was these individuals who exerted their influence to terminate potentially embarrassing investigations using the police and security services as their means of doing so. The excuse will inevitably be based on wholly spurious 'national security grounds.'

Gradually, over the last few months, encouraged by the diligent work of the on-line investigative journal Exaro who have ferociously pursued the issue of child abuse, retired police officers have slowly been opening cracks in the establishment dam of obfuscation and delay. These officers have been coming forward telling how their investigations were shut down and, according to reports, some retired Special Branch officers have approached the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) in order to give statements. It is the Met's DPS who are the investigators in an investigation 'managed' by the IPCC.

Given the abysmal reputation of the Met's DPS in its treatment of serving officers who have whistle blown or otherwise attempted to expose wrongdoing, that decision alone must have been taken by former officers with a certain amount of trepidation. In order to encourage the remainder of ex-officers 'with knowledge' to come forward it would surely be better to take the enquiry away from the tarnished DPS and hand it to another law enforcement body such as the National Crime Agency or Police Scotland.

The fact that vague assurances of an 'amnesty' have been given by David Cameron and Theresa May would, given the contempt in which they are held by both serving and retired police officers, perhaps have been better coming from the current Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

The distrust on the police side is exacerbated by the fact that neither major political party has seemed keen on any form of revelation that could damage their own reputations or indeed the already damaged reputations of politicians generally, perhaps fearful of haemorrhaging general election votes to Ukip.

The question also being discussed by current and retired police officers is how could it be that the flaws in the child abuse enquiry appointments of Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf were exposed on social media within minutes of each respective announcement. This could have been achieved by a ten year old simply by means 'googling' each name yet are we seriously suggesting that these flaws did not feature in the checks presumably undertaken by Theresa May's Home Office researchers?

This has inevitably led to conspiracy theorists espousing the view that flaws in respect of both appointments were known and designed to slow down the whole enquiry process. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, in questioning Theresa May after the second appointment collapsed, managed to provide credence to that view by 'attacking' the Home Secretary in the House of Commons with all the vigour of a toothless, dead sheep. No mention was made of the due diligence 'google' enquiries until much later in the debate to a near deserted chamber by a couple of isolated MP's.

It has of course been isolated MP's in the form of Simon Danczuk and John Mann who have carried the flag for the victims. Parliament, as an entity however, has been dragged into the establishment child abuse scandal with all the enthusiasm of a rabies sufferer about to dive into a shark invested pool.

Reports that former Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw ordered the cessation of police abuse enquiries and the fact that the Margaret Thatcher's highly respected police body guard, Barry Strevens, personally warned her that there were concerns that her most trusted aid was involved in abuse, serve only to confirm the belief that this is an establishment cover up rather than a police one.

There will be those reading this who will point to police failures in relation to child abuse in places such as Rochdale, Oxford and Rotherham. Those issues, appalling in every respect, are in fact far more complex from a policing point of view that has been stated. However this abuse involves gangs of men from dubious backgrounds. Establishment child abuse and the subsequent cover ups using mechanisms of the state will, almost inevitably, involve those holding high office from MP's to cabinet ministers in whom we should be able to both respect and trust. Equally appalling is the' foot dragging' of the current establishment in ensuring that there is justice for those abused.

Little wonder then, that just before a general election, it has been politically expedient to shine the 'cover up spotlight' on a battered, bruised and demoralised police service.