UK

Met chief meets Lord Bramall over Operation Midland inquiry

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Lord Bramall Image copyright PA
Image caption The meeting between Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Lord Bramall took place on Thursday

The head of the Metropolitan Police has met privately with Lord Bramall, the former chief of the defence staff investigated over unproven claims of a historical VIP child sex abuse ring.

Scotland Yard said Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe had expressed "regret" at distress felt by the D-Day veteran for having his innocence called into question.

The 92-year-old was interviewed under caution in April 2015 but told in January no action would be taken.

A review of the probe is taking place.

Lord Bramall was questioned in connection with Operation Midland, which was wound up last month without any charges being brought.

How one man's claims sparked Met inquiry

It had been established in November 2014 to examine claims made by a man known only as Nick that boys had been abused by a group of powerful men from politics, the military and law enforcement agencies in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Metropolitan Police said Sir Bernard and Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan met Lord Bramall on Thursday.

"Whilst the content of that conversation will remain private, the Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe expressed, in person, his regret about the distress felt by Lord Bramall and his family, and the impact of having his innocence publicly called into question after a long career of public service," it said in a statement.

Retired High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques is examining the way the Met handles cases involving claims of historical child abuse by public figures.

Scotland Yard said the commissioner had listened to Lord Bramall's concerns about how the investigation had been carried out and these would be considered during the review.

'Great pressure'

A statement issued on behalf of Lord Bramall said it had been a "useful constructive meeting".

Sir Bernard, it said, had assured Lord Bramall the Met would be taking urgent steps to implement the recommendations of Sir Richard's review.

It said Lord Bramall looked forward to contributing to the review into the investigation "with the aim of establishing whether it could or should have been handled differently".

The statement added: "Lord Bramall accepts these assurances and appreciates the great pressure the Metropolitan Police have been under."

Scotland Yard has come under fire amid concerns it overreacted to the allegations that prompted Operation Midland.

Speaking to MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Committee in February, Sir Bernard expressed "regret" at the effect of the inquiry on Lord Bramall but repeatedly refused to apologise.

He said people questioned had needed to wait to be told about the outcome of the case to allow police and the Crown Prosecution Service time to complete their work.

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