Head of Met’s VIP sex ring probe faces gross misconduct charge
THE police chief who oversaw Scotland Yard’s catastrophic VIP sex abuse investigation is to face gross misconduct proceedings, plunging the biggest force into fresh crisis.
Steve Rodhouse, the Met’s former deputy assistant commissioner, will face a disciplinary board.
He is alleged to have lied in public at the conclusion of Operation Midland, the police watchdog says.
The bungled Met investigation he headed as gold commander – Operation Midland – was launched in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2014.
It led to fantasist Carl Beech – then known as “Nick” – to make fake claims of historical child abuse against high-profile individuals that included ex-MPs Harvey Proctor and Lord Janner, former Home Secretary Lord Brittan and ex-PM Edward Heath.
A 16-month probe failed to find evidence to support the claims and an inquiry into the police investigation afterwards concluded the people involved had been falsely accused, leaving them dealing with considerable damage to their reputations.
Extensive compensation was paid from the public purse.
Mr Proctor, welcomed the decision to charge Mr Rodhouse but demanded a wider investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into an alleged “corporate cover-up” at the Met. He said: “As cracks start to appear, it is now time to hold a full public inquiry.” Beech was later found guilty of perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to 18 years in prison in July 2019.
Mr Rodhouse is the first officer to face disciplinary proceedings over Midland. He was cleared of misconduct in 2017 but the police watchdog launched a new probe last year. Mr Rodhouse became head of operations and joint deputy head of the National Crime Agency – where he earns over £200,000 a year – after leaving the force.
The gross misconduct charge comes six months after he was served with a formal notice.
It alleged he used “inaccurate or dishonest” words in a press statement released by the Met in March 2016 in which he said “officers have not found evidence to prove that they were knowingly misled by a complainant”.
But in a confidential Met report from the same year, later leaked, Mr Rodhouse wrote about the appalling criminal records of Beech and two other complainants.