Report released into Sir Edward Heath investigation

Report released into Sir Edward Heath investigation

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 5:55am 5th October 2017. (Updated at 11:35am 5th October 2017)

Wiltshire Police launched Operation Conifer two years ago after the former prime minister was accused of historical child sex abuse.

The findings of a two year investigation into allegations of child abuse against former Prime Minister Edward Heath (pictured here) have been revealed by Wiltshire Police this morning (Thursday October 5th).

It's found that Sir Edward Heath would have been questioned over allegations of rape and indecent assault had he been alive today.

Those allegations relate to the alleged rape of an 11-year-old boy; indecent assault of a 10-year-old boy; indecent assault of a 15-year-old boy; indecent assault on a male over the age of 16.

Our force has been leading a national operation looking into the claims, as the politician lived in Salisbury's Cathedral Close up until his death in 2005.

The investigation was launched back in August 2015, with Wiltshire Police taking the lead on behalf of all police forces in the UK.

REPORT FINDINGS IN SUMMARY: 

  • 42 allegations made by 40 individuals
  • The alleged incidents all took place between 1961 to 1992, while he was an MP
  • In seven cases, if Sir Edward Heath had been alive, he would have been questioned under caution
  • In three cases, it's been concluded that there was a genuine case of mistaken identity in naming Sir Edward Heath as the perpertrator
  • In 19 cases, there is undermining information about the incident, so police wouldn't have been able to take further action

You can download the full report from the Wiltshire Police website at www.wiltshire.police.uk

Wiltshire Chief Constable, Mike Veale said: 

"It is important to state that the role of the police in a criminal investigation is not to reach a conclusion as to the likely guilt or innocence of a person who is subject to allegations. Therefore, the findings in the report published today do not state whether Sir Edward Heath was guilty of any criminal offences or comment on the prospect of a successful prosecution had he been alive today."

Here's the full video statement from him: 

The investigation's cost a total of around £1.5 million, with the Government covering £1.1 million of that.

Operation Conifer has been criticised for not being 'value for money' - that's something the Wiltshire Chief Constable has responded to: 

"It was also the subject of a ‘value for money’ review from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC), which concluded there was strong governance and strict financial controls in place. Operation Hydrant, the national co-ordinating body carried out two reviews on Operation Conifer, which concluded that a process of continuous review was in place in relation to proportionality and justification, that the national advice was being followed and that the investigation had been conducted in a manner consistent with the application of the principles of legitimacy and proportionality."

There's more on the report and its findings over on our national news page at www.spirefm.co.uk/national

Operation Conifer Report (Wiltshire Police)

Salisbury's MP John Glen has also given his reaction to the report - he said: 

"The publication of the report today is therefore helpful in precisely outlining the allegations made against the former Prime Minister.

"Operation Conifer was never going to prove or disprove Sir Edward’s guilt. Only the courts can do that and Sir Edward is obviously unable to face trial.

"It was right, nonetheless, that Operation Conifer proceeded and I do not accept that this has been a waste of resources. With a significant number of serious claims made against a senior political figure, it would have been irresponsible and unprofessional for Chief Constable Mike Veale to look the other way.

"Of the large pool of allegations contained in today’s report, six of them would definitively have led the police to interview Sir Edward under caution. These relate to separate people who did not know each other, each in a different location and time period.

"The report makes it very clear that this does not constitute proof of Sir Edward’s guilt. The former Prime Minister is not present to defend himself. However, with allegations of sufficient seriousness to warrant being interviewed under caution, Wiltshire Police were correct to investigate the matter to the fullest of their abilities."

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