This is a deeply concerning case. Operation Midland was the Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse made by Carl Beech against a range of public figures. Beech is now serving an 18-year prison sentence for perverting the course of justice. He has appealed his conviction and sentence, as you mentioned, Mr Speaker, and they are a matter for the courts to consider. This case has had a devastating impact on those he accused and their families. Sir Richard Henriques’s report on how the Met handled the investigation raises many concerns. The Met has already apologised for failings in the investigation and acted on many of Sir Richard’s recommendations, and we very much welcome the publication by the Met on Friday of the fuller detail of what Sir Richard found. I note that the commissioner of the metropolis has issued a further statement and apology today.
It is now vital that the public receive independent assurance that the Met has learned from the lessons identified in Sir Richard’s report and has made the necessary improvements. That is crucial to restoring public confidence that police handling of an investigation of such sensitive matters is both fair and impartial. That is why my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary wrote last week to Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary and fire and rescue services to ask him to undertake an inspection at the earliest opportunity to follow up on Sir Richard’s review. It must be right that a body independent of Government take this work forward. She also asked that the inspection take account of the findings of the report of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which was published this morning, and which we will be considering carefully.
The public must have faith in the impartiality of their police service, and no one should have to suffer the ignominy of public false accusations of the most heinous kind. The Government are determined to ensure that the lessons are learned by the police and that the failings of this investigation are never repeated.