Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Guardian: No More Excuses, No More Delays

Piece by piece, the evidence mounts of a high-level paedophile ring in the 1970s and 80s involving figures from what used to be called the establishment: MPs, diplomats, officials and senior police officers. On Tuesday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced that it was to supervise an inquiry into the Metropolitan police’s failure to continue inquiries into child abuse because they involved public figures. Later that day, BBC Newsnight alleged that an extensive investigation conducted by the Met in 1981 secured video evidence of sex parties involving the Liberal MP Cyril Smith and a senior figure from the security services abusing teenage boys from care homes. But – according to the Newsnight report – the Met’s investigation was abruptly halted by an unknown senior officer who threatened to prosecute under the Official Secrets Act any officer who revealed what they had found.

If this charge is substantiated, it marks another new low in the wretched history of the failure to protect victims of abuse. But this would be abuse of a different and even darker kind, for it would amount to a grotesque misappropriation of state power. The Official Secrets Act has only one purpose: to protect the security of the state. It is the weapon of last resort, to be employed only in extremes. It is almost beyond belief that it could have been used to stifle an investigation into a crime as terrible as the sexual abuse of children by adults.  (more...)

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