Tag Archives: Police



Sir Richard Henriques


  • Controversial instruction is contained in new College of Policing guidance 

  • Comes despite warnings after disastrous inquiry into VIP sex abuse claims 

  • Claims of fantasist Carl Beech were notoriously called ‘credible and true’ 

Police are still being advised to automatically believe alleged abuse victims in new guidelines despite warnings from a senior judge in his review of the ‘Nick the fantasist’ case.

The College of Policing guidance, which was published today, controversially tells detectives investigating claims of child abuse that ‘the intention is that victims are believed’.

Sir Richard Henriques, in his review of how police handled claims of VIP sex abuse from the fantasist Carl Beech, called for the instruction to be withdrawn because suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

Beech’s slurs were described as ‘credible and true’ by a senior officer, and went on to trash the reputations of esteemed public figures including D-Day hero Lord Bramall, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

The new guidance comes despite warnings from retired judge Sir Richard Henriques, in his review of how police handled claims of VIP sex abuse from the fantasist Carl Beech (pictured in a police interview from 2016)

The new guidance comes despite warnings from retired judge Sir Richard Henriques, in his review of how police handled claims of VIP sex abuse from the fantasist Carl Beech (pictured in a police interview from 2016)

Sir Richard criticised the decision to keep the guidance, telling The Times: ‘They’ve learnt nothing at all from Nick.

‘The whole basis of their explanation for believing Nick is that they were driven to believe by the protocol that was in existence.’

The guidance was produced by the College of Policing and senior officers in Operation Hydrant, which leads the investigation of historic abuse allegations.

It was today defended by Hydrant chief Simon Bailey, who insisted officers did not apply ‘blind belief’.

He said that victims were constantly told by their abusers they would never be believed, and they would never come to the police if they did not feel they would be listened to.

The new guidance also urges officers not to go ‘trawling’ for abuse victims but to use prior investigation to approach specific groups of possible victims or witnesses.

It also advises the, when releasing information about a suspect who has died, officers must ‘make it clear that there police are making no judgments about guilt’.

Wiltshire Police was criticised for holding a press conference outside the late former Prime Minister’s Edward Heath’s home in 2015 to announce they were investigating claims he was a paedophile, before urging other alleged victims to come forward.

The force later said that, if the politician had been alive, he would have been interviewed about seven disclosures under criminal caution.

Carl Beech – the fantasist and paedophile known by the pseudonym ‘Nick’ – was sentenced to eighteen years in prison in July 2019 to his false claims, including against Sir Edward.

Sir Richard criticised the decision to keep the guidance, saying: 'They've learnt nothing at all from Nick'

Sir Richard criticised the decision to keep the guidance, saying: ‘They’ve learnt nothing at all from Nick’

Sir Richard’s report on Scotland Yard’s investigation, Operation Midland, advised that ‘the instruction to believe a victim’s account should cease’.

He said people who make allegations to police should be called complainants, not victims, so not to imply guilt. The report, commissioned by the Met, was handed to senior commanders in 2016 but was finally published in full in October 2019.

It exposed the appalling failures of senior officers who believed Nick’s false allegations as they mounted a bungled £2.5 million investigation which ruined the lives of war hero Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and Mr Proctor.

Police decided to automatically believe claims of sexual abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, when it emerged that credible rape reports had been dismissed.

But the approach led to the Met notoriously describing as ‘credible and true’ the false allegations made by Beech, which were also backed in Parliament by the Labour MP Tom Watson.

The 51-year-old falsely alleged that between the ages of seven and 16 he had been collected by car from his various schools in the country and driven to London, where he and other young boys were raped, burned, stabbed and tortured.

He claimed the offences were committed in the Carlton Club or in the apartment block in Pimlico called Dolphin Square. Afterwards, Nick would be returned by car to his home, where he lived alone with his mother.

He had originally made allegations to Wiltshire Police, who had interviewed him but concluded he lacked credibility.

His mother was also questioned and told them she had no knowledge of any unauthorised absence from school and had never seen any bloodstained underwear or similar sign of sexual abuse.

Yet Met officers listening to his claims were not given his earlier interviews so missed the large number of inconsistencies.

Beech's slurs were notoriously called 'credible and true' during a press conference outside New Scotland Yard

Beech’s slurs were notoriously called ‘credible and true’ during a press conference outside New Scotland Yard

Sir Richard said they then continued investigating his claims ‘in a disordered and chaotic manner and littered with mistakes’.

In his new book, From Crime To Crime, which was serialised in the Daily Mail, the former judge wrote: ‘They failed to ask Nick for his computers or mobile phone.

‘They ignored the fact that his medical records disclosed no injury consistent with his allegations in his personal online blog that his feet were stabbed and burned, poppies pinned to his bare chest and numerous bones broken.

‘They had no regard to the inherent improbability of men of the highest standing and impeccable character having behaved in the manner alleged.’

Moving on the notorious ‘credible and true’ press conference, he continued: ‘Instead the police made a public appeal for information, with a senior officer, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, standing outside New Scotland Yard and telling a press conference that they believed Nick’s allegations to be both ‘credible and true’.

‘The words should never have been uttered, and the officer himself later admitted they were inappropriate, saying he selected the wrong words in the heat of an interview.

‘But there was no correction for many months, by which time, as we will see below, two completely bogus potential witnesses had come forward with more lies purporting to support ‘Nick’.’

Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell – Sunday – October 23 2016


Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday – October 23 2016

This is NOT justice – it’s a witch hunt 


George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

The Great Child Abuse Inquiry continues to devour itself, in a storm of rumour and whispers. There is some justice in this.

The whole idea that this country is waist-deep in unprosecuted abuse scandals has always been based on allegations that cannot be objectively proved. Now this industry is the target of its own methods.

The whole country has become a vast kangaroo court, in which guilty and innocent alike are accused, and in many cases we can never find the truth.

For a year, I have been fighting the case of the late Bishop George Bell, whose courage and principle I have long admired, who was suddenly accused of long-ago child abuse by a solitary complainant, 57 years after his death. No other accusers have come forward.

To begin with, his own church, aided by several newspapers, the BBC and the police, acted disgracefully as if his guilt was proven. The police even said they would have arrested him if he hadn’t been dead, an absurd and meaningless statement which persuaded many he was guilty.

Now, thanks to relentless pressure by many good people, plus me, the BBC have honourably retreated, the police have softened their line, and the Church themselves have published a booklet about Chichester Cathedral in which they admit that the charges against Bishop Bell have never been tested in any court and are just ‘plausible’, a feeble word given that the accusation, if true, would strip away his good name for ever.

It’s not enough. But it took all the running we could do just to stay in the same place, returning to the old English custom that all are presumed innocent until guilt is proven. If the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary could grasp this point, their hopeless inquiry could be shut down before it soaks up the entire national budget and we could go back to proper British justice.


New Guidebook on sale in the Cathedral bookshop : “Chichester Cathedral – Society and Faith” [Pitkin 2016] – Page 37 


Former Honorary Canon of Derby Cathedral – now deceased – accused of abusing children


Former Derby clergyman Derek Buckley accused of abusing children

By ICrowsonDT  |  Posted: October 09, 2016

image: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276250/Article/images/29791633/15606197-large.jpg

Former Derby clergyman Derek Buckley, left, has been accused of abusing children. Derby Cathedral, right, is aware of the claims.

A former Derby clergyman and wartime code breaker has been accused of historical sex abuse against children.

Derek Buckley, a former honorary Canon of Derby Cathedral, allegedly abused two children in the late 1980s. The shock claims against Rev Buckley, who died at his home in Ashbourne in 1999 aged 82, have been raised with Derbyshire police and the Derby Diocese.

The allegations against him are forming part of a national police investigation into historical child sex abuse. Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at legal firm Slater and Gordon, is representing the two alleged victims of Rev Buckley.

He said: “Very serious allegations have been made against the Derby Diocese. It is now important, not just for the survivors of abuse but society in general, that the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, examines these cases and broader failings of the Anglican Church and law enforcement agencies to protect children.

A spokesman for Derby Diocese, the body which runs Church of England churches in the city, said it was aware of the allegations.

He said: “The Diocese of Derby takes safeguarding very seriously and we have been working closely with the police since we were made aware of allegations. We promise to listen in confidence to anyone who comes forward with safeguarding concerns relating to the Church.”

image: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276250/binaries/Derby%20Cathedral123.jpg

Rev Derek Buckley was a former honorary Canon of Derby Cathedral


Mr Scorer is representing a total of 51 alleged abuse victims giving evidence to the national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which is being run by Professor Alexis Jay. The inquiry is investigating whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.

Rev Buckley, a former pupil of Bemrose School began work as an apprentice electrical engineer at Celanese in Spondon. During the Second World War he was stationed at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire with the RAF and was involved in the top secret code-breaking exercise The Enigma Project.

At the age of 35 he began training for the Ministry and was ordained in 1955. He served as vicar of Church Broughton and Sutton-On-The-Hill.

He was made honorary Canon of Derby Cathedral in 1979, a title conferred on someone who has given faithful and valuable service to the church. He was made a hereditary Freeman of Derby and he retired in November 1983.

A spokesman for Derbyshire police said: “I can confirm that we had two reports against Cannon Derek Buckley of historical sexual abuse in the 1980s. As the accused is now deceased, there is no active investigation.”

Anyone with any information on historical abuse can contact the Diocese by email on safeguarding@derby.anglican.org or by calling 01332 388 678.

Read more at http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/derby-clergyman-derek-buckley-accused-of-abusing-children/story-29791633-detail/story.html#kYxJUwvFGzCLpDfc.99

Former Chief Constable accuses Church of “grave miscarriage of justice” in Bishop Bell case – Premier News – March 2016


News > UK > Church accused of “grave miscarriage of justice” in Bishop Bell case

PA/PA Wire

Church accused of “grave miscarriage of justice” in Bishop Bell case

Sun 20 Mar 2016

By Antony Bushfield

A former chief constable’s led a group in criticising the Church of England for committing a “grave miscarriage of justice” by labelling the former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, a paedophile.


Lord Dear, who once led West Midlands Police, is joined by Labour MP Frank Field and Judge Alan Pardoe QC in a letter calling for a proper investigation.

They claim the Church did not interview key people before branding Bishop Bell a sex abuser.

In October 2015 the Church of England released a statement apologising to a woman who claimed she was abused by the respected Bishop Bell in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

It also paid compensation to the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Sussex Police has revealed it would have arrested Bishop Bell and interviewed him on suspicion of serious sexual offences had he still been alive.

A Church spokesperson said the decision to accept Bishop Bell was a paedophile was “not taken lightly or without consideration of the impact on the reputation of George Bell”.

The group supporting Bishop Bell has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby asking him to apologise to Bishop Bell’s family and launch an investigation.

Frank Field MP, a former member of the Church of England General Synod, told the Sunday Telegraph: “There has been a grave miscarriage of justice here. The church acted in secrecy. We don’t know what the charges were, who were the authorities which made the judgment and how that judgment was arrived at.

“If this could happen to a man like Bishop Bell it could happen to someone who is unknown and does not have influential friends to fight for them. We need a much more robust system for dealing with this kind of allegation.”

A Church of England spokesperson said: “The decision to settle the civil claim relating to the activities of Bishop Bell and make a formal apology was not taken lightly or without consideration of the impact on the reputation of George Bell.

“However in this case, as in others, the overriding goal was to search out the truth and issues of reputation cannot take priority over that.

“Any suggestion that the reputation of the Church, or its ministers, should take precedence over the search for the truth is fundamentally misplaced.”

Police Say Sorry Over Bishop Bell. BBC Say Sorry Over Bishop Bell. And The Church?

  1. IMG_4035

    Photo by Richard W. Symonds – Chichester Cathedral – August 2016


Sussex Police has said sorry to the living relatives of Bishop George bell.

Superintendent Jez Graves has written to journalist Peter Hitchens, who is acting on behalf of a surviving relative.

The Chichester Diocese last year settled a civil claim to a woman who said she was abused as a young girl.

Police said to the Observer: “Yes, the letter apologises because the force did not take steps to try to contact any living relatives of Bishop Bell, to let them know that the statement about our investigation was to be made public by the Church of England last October.

“However the letter does not apologise for the police investigation or for the statement itself. It apologises solely for our not trying to ensure in advance that any surviving relatives knew of our statement, which was included in the Church statement.”

Bishop Bell served as Bishop of Chichester until his death in 1958.



Photo by Richard W. Symonds -Chichester Cathedral – August 2016



I am at last able to reveal that the BBC has, very much to its credit, and in contrast to many other media, regional and national, admitted that some of its reporting on the allegations against Bishop George Bell was wrong.

It has justly and properly accepted an argument I and others have made to several media, local and national.These media said that the late Bishop ’was’ a child abuser, without the qualifications normally used in reporting an unproven allegation. They were not entitled to do so, as no on-the-record statement or document justified this conclusion.  ‘The Guardian’  has, as I have noted here earlier, specifically rejected this argument as has its ‘Review Panel’, a Scott Trust body which stoutly maintains its independence from the newspaper. Though the Panel has conceded , bizarrely, that it might have been better to use inverted commas around the claims that the Bishop ‘was’ an abuser. Indeed it might.

The summary of the conclusions of the Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) has just gone up on the BBC website, and can be seen athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/comp-reports/ecu/southeasttoday051115.  There’s also a report on the Corrections & Clarifications page athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/helpandfeedback/corrections_clarifications.

The ECU concluded that the Church’s original October 22nd statement (in my view the unjustified basis of much misleading reporting on the matter, as it made no assertion of guilt) ‘did not warrant reporting as a matter of fact that the allegations had been proven’


The key quotation in full is below:

‘The original statement by the church authorities had not explicitly said they believed Bishop Bell to have been guilty, but a subsequent statement said they had accepted the veracity of the allegations on the balance of probabilities.  This, however, did not warrant reporting as a matter of fact that the allegations had been proven.’

I would add that in a letter to me on 28th January (which I have refrained from publishing until now because I was asked to keep it private till the final conclusion was published), Fraser Steel, the BBC’s Head of Editorial Complaints, said:

‘…Although the statement doesn’t say so in terms, it certainly implies that the church authorities have accepted that the allegations are true. That, however, is not the same as saying that Bishop Bell has been proven guilty of sexual abuse and, to the best of my knowledge, no information has been disclosed about the matter which might warrant the view that the allegations had in effect been proven, even though not through court proceedings.

‘I therefore agree that both the broadcast and the online piece were inaccurate in that respect.’ (my emphasis, PH)



Photo by Richard W. Symonds – Chichester Cathedral – July 2016