Statement from Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House in response to the conclusion of the trial of Carl Beech:
We have today seen the conclusion of the trial, which followed a Northumbria Police investigation into Carl Beech, who was accused of perverting the course of justice through the allegations he made to the Met’s Operation Midland about murders and child abuse.
The Met has supported Northumbria Police in its investigation throughout.
We are grateful for the efforts of Northumbria Police in investigating and bringing this matter to court for consideration by a jury.
Following the conclusion of the Operation Midland investigation, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe commissioned a thorough review by Sir Richard Henriques. Key points from Sir Richard’s highly critical review were published in November 2016.
Sir Bernard also apologised in person to those most affected by the case. Sir Richard’s review also allowed us to learn so that we could improve our handling of similar allegations in the future. Many of his recommendations have already been embedded and we keep our working practices under review at all times.
Potential conduct matters relating to five of our officers, were voluntarily referred to the then Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after we had read the full detail of Sir Richard's review, so that an independent assessment could be made.
Whilst the Met is clear that our organisation did not get everything right, the IPCC stated in March 2017 that it had found no evidence to indicate bad faith, malice or dishonesty on the part of our officers as they investigated the allegations made by Carl Beech. The IPCC also stated that the information available to them indicated the investigation was extensive and carried out diligently.
The IPCC continued to investigate three officers for matters relating to the applications for search warrants. Today, the Independent Office for Police Conduct announced that none of these officers had a case to answer in relation to any allegations.
I believe that all these officers worked in good faith. They cooperated fully with both the Henriques’ Review and the Independent Office for Police Conduct investigations.
In summary, none of the five officers involved in the original referral or the three officers subject to investigation were found to have cases to answer in relation to any of the allegations. It must be remembered also that the work of Operation Midland was carried out against a backdrop of intense scrutiny and allegations that in the past the Met had covered up sensitive allegations about prominent people.
There will nonetheless be an internal debrief following Carl Beech’s trial to identify any additional lessons.
It remains true that investigating allegations of sexual offences is a very complex and challenging area of police work. Those complexities are compounded where those allegations stretch back many decades, as was the case in Operation Midland.
Additionally, many of the issues relating to the investigation of non-recent sexual offences continue to be examined by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, with which the Met is fully co-operating, and it would be inappropriate for us to pre-empt the inquiry’s findings with any wider commentary on this area of policing at this time.