Police watchdog takes over Met investigation into ‘sabotage attempt’ by senior officer
By Mark Watts and Tim Wood | 9 January 2016
“These are very serious allegations about sensitive matters”
– Source close to IPCC investigation
Scotland Yard has passed to Britain’s police watchdog its investigation into a detective suspected of leaking identities of complainants in abuse cases to BBC1’s Panorama.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will itself carry out the investigation into the senior detective over allegations that he passed to Panorama and newspapers confidential details of witnesses who made allegations to Scotland Yard of child sex abuse (CSA) by VIPs.
Communications seen by Exaro reveal that immediately after taking over the investigation the IPCC upgraded it from a disciplinary to a criminal case.
A source close to the investigation said: “These are very serious allegations about sensitive matters.”
Exaro is withholding the name of the senior detective – who does not work in the Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit – at this early stage of the case.
The Met fears that the officer embarked on an attempt to sabotage several of its investigations launched since 2012 into alleged sexual abuse by MPs and other prominent men.
It has also referred other “misconduct” investigations into the officer to the IPCC, which is still assessing whether it should have oversight or conduct of the cases.
The Met is also understood to be re-examining unrelated investigations carried out by the same officer.
Last October, Exaro revealed the first phase of the investigation by the Met’s directorate of professional standards into the officer who was a confidential source for the Panorama progamme that set out to discredit witnesses who have alleged to police that MPs and other VIPs sexually abused them.
Exaro can reveal that the Met, which launched the “misconduct” investigation in September following a complaint by a witness who alleged child sex abuse by VIPs, quickly referred it to the IPCC to assess whether it should have a role in the case.
The IPCC decided not just to oversee the case, but to carry out the investigation directly. Its view was that the Met should not continue to investigate one of its own senior officers over such a serious matter because of the potential conflict of interests, although it is understood to have no specific concerns about how Scotland Yard was conducting the case.
“Independent scrutiny is needed in this case,” said the source.
Jennifer Izekor is understood to be the IPCC commissioner who is overseeing the investigation.
The IPCC spokesman said in a statement: “The IPCC is investigating two complaints regarding the disclosure of information to the media. The investigation is at a very early stage and follows a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service.”
Meanwhile, the Met has mounted a series of related investigations into the same senior detective. These include claims about the improper disclosure to Panorama and newspapers of the identities of at least two more complainants in abuse cases – including names, addresses and details of relatives – as well as other sensitive information from those criminal investigations.
The leaks were especially serious in light of the warning in September by the solicitor general, Robert Buckland, that the media must not publish or broadcast anything that is likely to lead anyone to identify a complainant in a police investigation into CSA allegations.
Scotland Yard is also investigating whether the officer was behind a disinformation campaign in the Press in 2014 in an attempt to wreck a Met investigation into allegations that a Customs officer seized a video in 1982 that showed child sex abuse in the presence of Lord, then Leon, Brittan, former home secretary, who died last year.
The senior detective is understood to have denied the allegations against him in the “misconduct” investigation.
The Met said in a statement: “In September 2015, the directorate of professional standards received a public complaint regarding the improper disclosure of information to the media. In October, a second complaint was received.
“Both complaints were referred to the IPCC, who took the decision to independently investigate.
It would be inappropriate to discuss further given that the IPCC is investigating.”
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