Your basket
Your basket
0 items - £0.00

Personal tools

Home News Bishop asks for Independent Review

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Bishop asks for Independent Review

by Michael Ford last modified 11 Mar, 2020 05:25 PM

During his week of duty in the House of Lords, Bishop Nicholas called on the Home Office to hold an independent review into Wiltshire Police’s handling of allegations against Sir Edward Heath to help restore the reputation of both.

Bishop asks for Independent Review

Photo courtesy

Bishop Nicholas contributed to a series of questions about what assessment the Government has made of the management of investigations into historic sexual offences.

There is concern about this from all sides in the House of Lords. The matter was raised by Lord Campbell-Savours who mentioned those falsely accused by Carl Beech (“Nick”) in the investigation known as Operation Midland but he has spoken in the past about the Wiltshire Police’s investigation into allegations made about Sir Edward Heath, Operation Conifer.

Bishop Nicholas asked how we will learn unless there is an independent review of the investigation about Sir Edward Heath.

In the past the Home Office has said such a review is the responsibility of the police and crime commissioner for Wiltshire but the Police and Crime Commissioner says that Wiltshire Police were the lead authority for others who had received more than 40 allegations which had to be investigated.

The Bishop asked the Minister, Baroness Williams of Trafford, to explain:

“How will we learn unless there is a review?

"What can the Home Office do that will help to restore the reputation of both Sir Edward and the Wiltshire Police?”

The Minister stated that 3 successive Home Secretaries have now said that they will not instigate an inquiry into Operation Conifer and that it is a matter for the police. The Independent Office for Police Conduct has already published its inquiry into Operation Midland. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services is conducting a lessons-learned review of how the Metropolitan Police Service handled Operation Midland and their report is due in a few weeks.

The Bishop commented afterwards that for Salisbury and Wiltshire this is profoundly unsatisfactory:

"Friends of Sir Edward Heath’s feel strongly that his reputation was trashed by an investigation they say should not have happened in the way that it did. On the other hand those who make complaints need to know that no one is above the law and that every complaint is properly investigated.

"Unless there is an independent review it is very difficult to see how lessons will be learned and there is also no possibility of restoring the reputations of Sir Edward or the Wiltshire Police in this matter. As Lord Kennedy of Southwark said at the end of this series of questions, there is an impasse and we need the Home Office to offer a way forward.

"What matters is that we continue to learn from experience and develop better practice in relation to what are very difficult and complex investigations."

Document Actions