Scotland Yard Investigated for ‘Protecting Pedophiles’

British police are alleged to have passed on chances to arrest powerful predators for 35 years.

Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

LONDON — Scotland Yard is being investigated over extraordinary claims that police officers were guilty of suppressing evidence, halting investigations, and colluding with politicians to cover up a pedophile network operating at the heart of the British government.

At last, the spotlight will fall on senior officers who have been accused of turning a blind eye to allegations of murder and child abuse because the men were considered too powerful to touch.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Britain’s version of the internal affairs division, announced on Monday that they were investigating 14 alleged incidents of corruption between 1970 and 2005. The alleged breaches were uncovered by detectives who are probing the existence of a VIP pedophile ring that was allegedly protected by the Thatcher government.

“These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature,” said Sarah Green, the IPCC deputy chair. “Allegations of this nature are of grave concern and I would like to reassure people of our absolute commitment to ensuring that the investigations are thorough and robust.”

The hunt for officers who protected child abusers comes after a growing body of evidence emerged to suggest that some of the most powerful people in Britain were aware of the systematic abuse of children and did nothing to stop it. The investigation into police collusion in the cover-up promises to be one of the most explosive in Scotland Yard’s history.

One of the incidents centers on a luxury apartment block near Westminster where boys were allegedly taken to regular sex abuse parties attended by Members of Parliament. The IPCC will investigate claims that a police operation at Dolphin Square “was stopped because officers were too near prominent people.” The building, on the banks of the River Thames, is popular with MPs who need second homes in London close to parliament. One survivor claimed boys aged to 16 were raped and even murdered by politicians inside the complex.

Investigators say they will also probe an allegation that Special Branch, a now defunct intelligence and national security unit of the police, snatched an incriminating file of evidence from a newspaper editor. Papers given to the journalist by a Labour politician showed that a network of pedophile-friendly MPs were operating within the Houses of Parliament, and that senior law enforcement officials knew about it. Don Hale, the editor concerned, told The Daily Beast earlier this month that he had been stunned when officers barged into his office and seized the papers: “These bully boys come storming in, they said, ‘We’re not here to negotiate. Hand them over or we’ll arrest you now.’”

The IPCC have published a list of the 14 claims they have decided are worthy of investigation. Detectives from Scotland Yard passed on a further two which the independent investigators said they were still assessing.

One of the allegations concerns “an investigation into a pedophile ring, in which a number of people were convicted, [but officers] did not take action in relation to other more prominent individuals.” In 1978, an envelope of obscene images was discovered on a London bus that belonged to Sir Peter Hayman. After a subsequent investigation, a number of the people he was sharing such correspondence with were prosecuted. Hayman, who was one of the top officials in MI6, not only escaped prosecution but his name was withheld from the court.

Hayman had been High Commissioner in Canada and reportedly Britain’s top liaison with the CIA. Thatcher later told aides to make sure that his crime was not disclosed.

The Daily Beast has been told on numerous occasions that police investigations into pedophile rings were halted by unnamed senior officials. Some of the survivors of abuse in the 1980s have refused to come forward again after their trust in the authorities was destroyed when they reported crimes at the time. Scotland Yard hopes this independent investigation will convince potential witnesses that current detectives are worthy of their trust.

If the allegations are examined thoroughly, however, it seems more likely that the reputation of the police is set to suffer even further. Simon Danczuk, one of the Labour MPs who have led the charge to hold police officers and politicians to account, said: "I think we are on the cusp of finding out exactly what went on in the ‘70s and 1980s."