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Report says UK has 'institutional failings' in child sex abuse probe

Leicestershire police committed 'serious, inexcusable failure' to investigate properly allegations against Lord Janner

Karim El-Bar   | 19.10.2021
Report says UK has 'institutional failings' in child sex abuse probe

LONDON

A new report published on Tuesday found "institutional failings" in the UK to seriously investigate claims of child sex abuse against the now-deceased Labour peer Lord Janner.

The report was carried out by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Its aim was not to determine whether Janner was innocent or guilty, but rather to examine the handling of complaints against him.

The report was scathing and found that Leicestershire police committed a "serious and inexcusable failure" to investigate properly the allegations against Janner.

The report particularly criticized a decision by the Leicestershire police not to pass on statements by two anonymous witnesses, called JA-A19 and JA-A6, onto the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 2002.

The report said there was a "culture of disbelief" at the Leicestershire police during that period, and that the failure to pass on the statements to the CPS could have been due to "complacency, incompetence or undue deference to a prominent public figure."

Prof. Alexis Jay, the inquiry’s chair, said the original police investigation “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 report also condemned Leicestershire country council saying its staff were aware and had concerns about Janner’s association with a child in its care, "such that further inquiries about the nature of the association were necessary."

Janner was not initially arrested, and the panel said further inquiries should have been made as to whether he should have been arrested.

Janner was eventually charged in 2015 with 22 offenses of indecent assault and buggery relating to nine separate complainants, concerning events that took place between the 1960s and 1980s, against children aged between eight and 16.

He died later in 2015, which closed the criminal case against him.

Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police Simon Cole said: "On behalf of Leicestershire Police, firstly, I would like to reiterate the wholehearted apology I gave in February 2020 to any complainant whose allegations during earlier police investigations into Lord Janner were not responded to as they should have been.

"It is fair and correct to say that the allegations could and should have been investigated more thoroughly, and Lord Janner could and should have faced prosecution earlier than 2015."

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