Police are investigating a senior detective who is a confidential source for BBC1’s Panorama over the leaking of secret identities of complainants in abuse cases.
Communications seen by Exaro reveal that the Metropolitan Police Service’s directorate of professional standards launched the investigation into the officer last month. He is suspected of improperly disclosing to journalists the name, address and other details of a complainant who had alleged to the force’s detectives that he was sexually abused as a boy by a politician and other VIPs in London.
A source close to the case said: “Journalists have been turning up at the complainant’s house, and it seems to have been as a result of this leaking.
“It is wholly unacceptable. It has caused disturbing intrusions on a vulnerable witness.”
The senior Met detective has also been talking to Panorama as it prepares a much-delayed programme that is aimed at discrediting abuse survivors who have made allegations of VIP paedophiles and who are at the centre of police investigations.
The Met’s paedophile unit referred the senior officer to the directorate of professional standards, which has begun a “misconduct” investigation to determine whether the officer leaked highly sensitive details of complainants – including their identities.
Exaro is withholding the name of the officer – who does not work in the Met’s paedophile unit – at this early stage of the misconduct investigation.
Police believe that the senior detective may have accessed confidential details of some of the investigations by the paedophile unit into allegations of child sex abuse (CSA) by MPs and other prominent men.
However, they do not think that he was able to access any confidential information about ‘Operation Midland’, which is a joint investigation into child sex abuse, torture and murder. Nonetheless, the detective under investigation is understood to have briefed against Operation Midland to some newspaper journalists, such as making false claims that officers on the case had “grave doubts” about it.
Police will examine why the officer has been attempting to destabilise ongoing criminal investigations.
If the officer is found to have leaked sensitive details about abuse survivors in criminal investigations, he faces instant dismissal.
The leaks are especially serious in light of last week’s warning by the solicitor general, Robert Buckland, that the media must not publish or broadcast anything that is likely to lead anyone to identify a complainant in a police investigation into CSA allegations. The warning was a reminder of existing law.
The solicitor general also warned the media not to pre-judge such investigations.
Daniel Foggo, Panorama’s reporter on the ‘Westminster paedophile network’, made no comment when asked by Exaro about the Met’s misconduct investigation into the programme’s source.
Following a leak from the BBC, Exaro last week revealed Panorama’s plans to smear abuse survivors in criminal investigations as part of an attempt to “debunk” claims of the ‘Westminster paedophile network’.
The programme intends to accuse the Sunday Express of running a false story on its front page that a female ex-MP sexually abused an under-age boy and to criticise Exaro, which over nearly three years has exposed evidence of the ‘Westminster paedophile network’.
The programme is also expected to criticise police, MPs, as well as Exaro and other media, for the way that they have raised or pressed the issue of child sex abuse by politicians and other VIPs.
Panorama asked for an interview with Exaro’s Editor-in-Chief, but was turned down because the BBC has no credibility on the subject given the well-established cases of VIP paedophiles at the broadcaster, along with clear evidence of a very heavy bias in the programme’s approach to the issue.
Panorama reporter lived as a boy over the road from Sir Peter Morrison
Panorama has chosen as a reporter for its programme someone who lived – throughout his childhood – over the road from Sir Peter Morrison, one of the best-known politicians who is alleged to have been a paedophile, reports Mark Conrad.
Exaro has established that Daniel Foggo, the reporter who is due to present the Panorama, was a near-neighbour to Morrison, the late Conservative MP who was Lady Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS) when she was prime minister.
The Foggo family and Morrison were registered on electoral rolls as living in Cambridge Street in Pimlico, near Westminster in London.
Fiona Woolf was forced to resign from chairing the CSA inquiry because of a perception of a potential conflict of interests, partly because she lived close in Pimlico to Lord Brittan, former home secretary, who was under investigation at the time of his death by the Met’s paedophile unit.
Asked whether he would be declaring in the programme the fact that he lived as a boy over the road from Morrison, Foggo told Exaro: “Firstly, neither I nor my family were aware at the time that Peter Morrison lived nearby. Personally, I was only made aware of this earlier this year.
“I never, to my knowledge, spoke to him or had any contact with him whatsoever, and neither did my family. Furthermore, I did not approach Panorama with the idea for this programme; they asked me to get involved.
“Therefore, I fail to see any potential conceivable conflict of interest.”
Update 2.15pm: Solicitor general Robert Buckland reiterated his warning to the media, telling Exaro this afternoon that he did not want new potential witnesses deterred, adds David Hencke.
Speaking to Exaro at the Conservative party’s conference in Manchester, Buckland said: “I do not want this ‘hue and cry’ culture in the media to put off potential victims from coming forward to the police.
“These are criminal acts. I do not know the merits of the cases, but people should be able to come forward.”
He said that he would watch the Panorama programme to see whether it complied with the law and his warning.
Update 6.33pm: The Met this evening issued a statement in response to the Exaro story, confirming that it was investigating a complaint received last month about “improper disclosure”.
The Met’s statement said that the investigation is “regarding the improper disclosure of information to the media”.
It added: “At this stage in an ongoing investigation we are not prepared to comment any further.”