As reported in the Telegraph:
Dame Cressida Dick has apologised for the mistakes made during Scotland Yard’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation as a “whitewash” report from the police watchdog absolved all her officers involved of any wrongdoing.
The Met Commissioner issued a statement saying the numerous errors made should not have happened.
But she tempered the apology by adding that the Force did not accept all of the findings of Sir Richard Henriques’ damning report into the scandal, which was published last Friday.
Dame Cressida said: “I recognise our mistakes will have a lasting effect on those who endured intrusive inquiries and were thrust into the spotlight. For some this is an issue that has fundamentally damaged their trust in us. This is a matter of great regret for me.”
But Harvey Proctor, the former Tory MP, who was one of those who was falsely accused of child rape and murder by the fantasist, Carl Beech, rejected the apology and said he had not ruled out bringing a private prosecution against the invidual officers involved.
Sir Richard identified 43 separate police failings during the 16 month investigation and he also said he believed search warrants obtained by the police were “unlawful” because detectives had misled a district judge in applying for them.
But the IOPC report found no evidence of wrongdoing and said there was no evidence the officers had broken the law.
Mr Proctor condemned the IOPC report of being a “stitch up” and a “whitewash”.
He said: This is the work of a body which is intended to be an independent watchdog over the conduct of the Police. It is a watchdog that is blind, deaf and toothless. This is more like the chicken guarding the henhouse than the fox.”
The former MP, who is locked in a legal battle with the Met over civil damages for his ordeal, said he was still considering whether to bring a private prosecution or a judicial review.
The Home Affairs Committee will decide on Tuesday whether to call Dame Cressida, former Met chief, Lord Hogan-Howe and the IOPC before it to be quizzed over their handling of the affair.
Tim Loughton, a member of the committee, said the IOPC report was “toothless, shoddy and unconvincing.
He said he had ‘serious questions’ about whether the IOPC was fit for purpose.
And Tory former minister, David Davis, called for a review into Operation Midland to look into rules for all police forces to “protect the innocent”.
Speaking in the Commons, he said: “The price that’s been paid in terms of reputational damage and ruined lives has been enormous. Huge-profile figures investigated under Operation Midland have had their reputations disgracefully and unjustly tarnished.”
He said rules for police forces across the country need to be changed.
Despite the criticism, Michael Lockwood, the director general of the IOPC, defended the report and its findings.
He said: “Did the officers involved make mistakes? Yes. Could police processes have been improved? Almost certainly.
“But did they deliberately exclude information to secure the warrants? Our investigation found no evidence of that.
“The IOPC is very clear that there must be accountability and assurance to the public that the weaknesses we have identified are addressed so these mistakes can never be repeated.”