Cliff Richard starts legal action against BBC and South Yorkshire Police

Cliff Richard Image copyright PA

Cliff Richard has instructed lawyers to make formal legal complaints to South Yorkshire Police and the BBC over their handling of a police raid on his home.

Police investigating historical sex allegations launched an investigation in 2014, which was filmed by the BBC.

Sir Cliff, 75, was told last month that he would not face criminal proceedings.

"In the absence of satisfactory answers a court will determine whether or not their behaviour was justified and proportionate," the pop star said.

"It is important not only for me personally but much more widely.

"My life was effectively turned upside down and my reputation, worldwide, was unnecessarily damaged. I would not want the same to happen to others whether in the public eye or not."

'Questions to be answered'

The BBC's helicopter and television cameras attended a police search of Sir Cliff Richard's penthouse flat in Berkshire in August 2014.

In 2014, a Parliamentary Committee found the BBC had acted "properly".

Last year an independent investigation concluded that South Yorkshire Police should not have released "highly confidential" information to the BBC about the planned search.

The force apologised "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused" to Sir Cliff by the force's "initial handling of the media interest" in its investigation.

Sir Cliff was not arrested, nor charged - and last month the case was dismissed by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The corporation later said it was "very sorry" Sir Cliff "suffered distress" after its coverage of the police raid but said it "stands by the decision to report the investigation undertaken by the South Yorkshire Police and the search of his property."

'No exceptional circumstances'

In a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday, Sir Cliff said: "Whilst the police of course need to properly investigate allegations made to them, it is clear to me that questions need to be answered by both the police and the BBC about their initial handling of my matter, which has rightly been condemned from so many quarters, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, the broader press, and, even the police themselves.

"I chose not to comment during the active investigation for obvious reasons, but having suffered the experience that I have, I firmly believe that privacy should be respected and that police guidelines are there to be followed.

"That means that save in exceptional circumstances people should never be named unless and until they are charged. As everybody has accepted there were no such 'exceptional circumstances' in my case."

The BBC and South Yorkshire Police said they had no comment on the statement.

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