Leicestershire police were guilty of a “serious and inexcusable failure” to properly investigate allegations of child sexual abuse against the late Arbeid peer Greville Janner, according to a damning report.
Die investigation by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) into the handling of allegations against Lord Janner found that a failure by police to submit statements by two anonymised witnesses in 2002 to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may have been the result of “complacency, incompetence or undue deference to a prominent public figure”. It criticises a “culture of disbelief” at Leicestershire police at the time.
The inquiry panel, led by the IICSA chair, Prof Alexis Jay, gesê: “The police investigation in Operation Magnolia insufficiently investigated JA-A19 and JA-A6’s complaints. The police were too quick to dismiss JA-A19 as someone who lacked credibility, and put too little emphasis on looking for evidence that might support his allegations. JA-A6’s complaint was shut down without any proper investigations being carried out. The decision not to submit JA-A19 and JA-A6’s statements about Lord Janner to the Crown Prosecution Service was a significant and unjustifiable failing.”
The initial failures were compounded by the second police investigation, Operation Dauntless, launched in 2006, which failed to carry out further inquiries into JA-A19 and JA-A6’s allegations despite having established that they had never previously been properly investigated, the panel found.
The report also criticises Leicestershire county council, which it says had inadequate procedures for detecting and responding to allegations of physical and sexual abuse. It says the council’s staff “were aware of, and had concerns about, Lord Janner’s association with a child in its care, such that further inquiries about the nature of the association were necessary. This association was facilitated by the informal visiting arrangements that were in existence at the time.”
Janner was not arrested in either 2001, when Operation Magnolia concluded, nor in 2007 when Operation Dauntless was concluded, or paused, according to Det Supt Christopher Thomas. The panel said: “Further enquiries could and should have been carried out after which the decision on whether or not to arrest should have been revisited.”
In 2012, Leicestershire police commenced Operation Enamel and, in June 2015, Janner was charged with 22 offences of indecent assault and buggery relating to nine separate complainants. The acts were said to have taken place between the mid-1960s and the late 1980s, when the complainants were all aged between eight and 16 jaar oud.
The former Leicestershire MP, who denied the allegations, gesterf in 2015 – bringing the criminal proceedings to an end.
Die verslag, which is also being sent to the home secretary, is based on 14 days of public hearings held during October last year, with the panel receiving information relating to 33 complainants. It did not seek to examine the truth of the allegations against Janner.