Dismore raises extent of redactions in Henriques report into the Met.’s failed child sexual abuse investigations

At Mayor’s Question Time today, Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Andrew Dismore AM raised with the Mayor the extent of the redactions in the published version of the Henriques report into the Met.’s failed child sexual abuse investigations. (Video attached)

Mr Dismore asked the Mayor if he would ensure that Sir Richard Henriques’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s report is published in full, save for any redactions to protect the identity of victims.

Mr Dismore said:

‘The review identifies 40 shortcomings by the Met. and makes  25 recommendations about the investigation of sexual offences, including the treatment of suspects and the release of information to the public.


‘The Met have admitted that the review was 491 pages long but they have published  only 85 pages of it, after what they consider to be “necessary redactions” of  confidential and sensitive information.


‘Is the extent of the redactions – almost 5/6th of the whole report –all justified by the need to protect people whose identities should not be revealed; or has the Met. gone overboard with the black marker pen and scissors ?’


The review reported “significant failings” and “grave errors of judgement” in Operation Midland and Operation Vincente, including:


  • believing the complainant ‘Nick’ was a credible person for too long
  • saying publicly that the allegations were credible and true
  • obtaining search warrants with flawed and incomplete information
  • not closing the investigation sooner.


Mr Dismore said:
‘Extensive media coverage exposed the names of the suspects.  Yet no charges followed. The Commissioner has accepted, on behalf of the Met, accountability for these failures. He said that “he had been let down by officers of high rank” and has issued public apologies to Lord Bramall, Lady Brittan and Harvey Proctor for the “intrusion into their homes and the impact on their lives”.


‘The pendulum of justice swung too far and led to systemic bad practice by the police, such as the policy of automatically believing claimants of child sexual abuse. While we all want to see justice for those who have genuinely been abused, this generated “miscarriages of justice” on a considerable scale and the report identified a serious erosion of the principle of innocent until proven guilty, which threatens one of the very bedrocks of our legal system.’

Mr Dismore asked the Mayor:


‘Do you agree that there were “serious failings” and “grave errors of judgement” in the conduct of both operations; and what are the main lessons for the Met?’

The Mayor agreed on the importance of the presumption of innocence, but stressed the importance of ensuring that people have confidence to report sexual offences, which are currently under-reported.