Harvey Proctor has called for the resignation of several officers from Operation Midland upon being told that no charges will be brought against him. His statement repeats and adds to the press conference that he authored some time ago, which I have blogged about here.
The Metropolitan police have also said that Operation Midland has been closed without any charges being brought against any of the former politicians, military officers or government officials said to be involved, after a 16-month inquiry involving 31 detectives.
I will be giving an interview to LBC Radio in London at 6.50am tomorrow morning, so I ought to get an early night. In advance of my interview, I would imagine that the points to be made are:-
- Has Operation Midland not been a complete waste of taxpayer’s money in that it has cost a huge sum of money yet has produced no guilty verdicts or even Court proceedings?
The job of the police is to investigate allegations, and if there is sufficient evidence refer the decision as to whether to charge any suspect with allegations made, to the Crown Prosecution Service. When dealing with the victims of abuse who are vulnerable, and often fragile, a different attitude has to be used than other more robust members of the public. One cannot criticise, therefore, for carrying out an investigation. Because it involves members of government who were in a position of power, then proportionately, a higher budget to investigate would seem justified.
- Should the police not investigate abuse allegations where there is no corroboration?
Any investigation starts with one allegation, which the police must then seek to strengthen with whatever other evidence (corroboration) is available. Because other related inquiries are continuing, and in any event, the police cannot publish or make public what evidence is in existence. One cannot come to a conclusion, therefore on the merits of any such investigation on the basis of limited facts as per the recent Panorama programme.
- Have the police succumbed to political pressure even after the recent scandals involving Lord Janner, Cyril Smith, and Jimmy Savile, who was investigated even though he had died?
Whether or not influence has been brought to bear upon the police to halt any recent investigation is doubtful in view of its high profile nature and the fact that it has been conducted in the glare of the media. It is likely, however, that this will be the view of the average Daily Mail reader.
- Should there be anonymity for the accused until charges are brought?
Anonymity is necessary to protect the victim of who is usually on the fringes or within the realms of treatment by mental health services. Bearing in mind that abuse is usually committed by the powerful over the powerless, the balance of power in favour of the powerful should not need correction. I can, however, accept that there may be an argument for anonymity until charge, but I am not wholly convinced.
- Even though the Police have dropped the enquiry, should the Goddard inquiry look at the same allegations again?
The Goddard Inquiry will not be deciding on guilt or innocence, but will be finding facts. It’s focus will be to decide on various issues robustly and vigorously, so there will be little duplication. It will be interesting to see whether those who allege falsities and mismanagement by the police will volunteer to give evidence to the Inquiry. Currently, there is no timetable for the allegations concerning MP’s as far as I am aware, so it may be some time before the Inquiry hears any evidence about Operation Midland.
My main concern once again is that the validity of a police investigation, and the truth or otherwise of allegations is being played out in the press rather than in the forum of a Court, or Inquiry/Inquest, when the rules of evidence can be adjudged fair or otherwise by an experienced legal chairman.
As always, please contact our abuse team if there is any issue with which you would like advice.