Operation Midland: Met 'damaged' over paedophile ring probe

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Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, attends an event to mark the anniversary of the attack on London Bridge,Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Dame Cressida Dick says she will co-operate with any inquiry

The Met Police has been "damaged" after its investigation into allegations of a VIP paedophile ring, Britain's most senior police officer has said.

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick supervised the officer who said false allegations by Carl Beech were "credible and true".

She has since been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) over her role in Operation Midland.

Beech was jailed for 18 years in July.

Dame Cressida said she would be "extraordinarily co-operative" with the IOPC.

"Of course it is appropriate, if somebody has a complaint about me or anybody else, they are able to make a complaint, and it is appropriate for the mayor's office to refer that if they think that is the right thing to do, as they have to the IOPC," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I certainly regret the phrase being used - 'credible and true'. I have apologised for the fact that that happened in the few weeks that I sat above Operation Midland and supervised the senior officer."

Media caption,

The Met's deputy commissioner Sir Stephen House says he is "deeply sorry for mistakes made"

Beech's false claims led to a number of prominent public figures coming under investigation, including former head of the armed forces Lord Bramall, former home secretary Lord Brittan, and ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

He was jailed after being found guilty of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice, one of fraud, and for several child sexual offences.

Mr Proctor has since urged Dame Cressida to consider her position after a report found that senior officers had decided at the outset of the investigation to say publicly that they believed Beech's allegations.

The former Conservative MP received a £900,000 settlement from the Met last month.

His complaint, made initially to the Met Police, was passed on to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, which has now referred it to the IOPC.

Image source, Gloucestershire Police
Image caption,
Carl Beech was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice, fraud and child sexual offences

Dame Cressida acknowledged the Met had been damaged by the case.

"It has damaged public confidence in us," she said, adding: "I think people have wanted to see something very, very definite and in particular in terms of punishment of the Met or of individuals.

"I understand why they feel that. I am sure some people would like to see heads roll."

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