Investigation finds no case to answer regarding MPS applications for warrants during Operation Midland

Published: 22 Jul 2019

Following the conclusion of the criminal trial of Carl Beech, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) today shared the findings of its investigation which looked into the actions of three officers involved in Operation Midland. Operation Midland was the Metropolitan Police (MPS) investigation into non-recent allegations of child abuse and murder made by Beech, who was known as Nick for anonymity purposes during the investigation.

The IOPC investigated the conduct of three MPS officers - a detective sergeant (DS), a detective inspector (DI) and a detective chief inspector (DCI) - who were involved in applying for warrants in relation to properties connected to Lord Bramall, the late Lord Brittan and Harvey Procter.

The MPS referred the conduct of the three officers to the then Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following an independent review of Operation Midland, conducted by Sir Richard Henriques. The review suggested possible misconduct regarding allegations the applications for search warrants made to the district judge in February 2015 were inaccurate or misleading due to deficiencies in the supporting evidence.

The IOPC investigated the allegations and found no evidence that any of the officers deliberately withheld evidence from the applications with the intention of misleading the district judge and would have no case to answer for misconduct.

IOPC investigators analysed a vast amount of material in coming to our decisions, including documents from Operation Midland, the Henriques Review and those generated by our investigation.

IOPC Interim Deputy Director General Jonathan Green said:

“Information suggests that the decision to apply for the search warrants was supported at deputy assistant commissioner (DAC) level, in consultation with the senior investigating officer. Prior to that decision, the SIO sought an expert opinion from the National Crime Agency to verify an assessment of a counsellor as to Nick’s credibility, the status of any other enquiries into the named individuals and to consult prosecution guidance on searching the properties following an allegation with little or no corroboration.

“On the basis of the information and inferences that were drawn at the time by the officers involved, the IOPC is satisfied that the decision to apply for the search warrants showed no indication that any officer behaved in manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings. After the decision was made it was a matter for the investigating team to make the applications.

“In relation to the decision to conduct searches, the policy entries from the DAC taken at face value provide evidence to suggest that, from the outset of the investigation, an open mind was being kept as to Nick’s credibility and that the possibility that he may even have fabricated some or all of his allegations had been considered. However, at the same time, there was also already a developed view, from the DAC and likely those that had briefed him and interviewed Nick, that there was evidence Nick was credible, consistent in his accounts and there was no obvious reason to doubt his account.

“While it was clear the Metropolitan Police had information to show a number of inconsistencies between the accounts provided to Wiltshire Police when Nick originally made the allegations and the accounts subsequently provided to the MPS, we found no evidence that any of the three officers we investigated knowingly or deliberately withheld evidence in order to mislead the district judge.

“Our investigation has been unable to establish with any certainty to the required standard, impacted by the passage of time, to justify the bringing of misconduct proceedings which specific documents each subject officer had sight and knowledge of at what time. However, some of the documents raise questions regarding the credibility of Nick’s account, and all three applications refer to the absence of evidence relating to Nick’s allegations of murder. This points away from any deliberate attempt to skew the evidence in favour of obtaining the warrants.

The allegations Nick made were grave and warranted investigation and we believe those involved in applying for the search warrant acted with due diligence and in good faith at the time.”

“We fully appreciate the stress and anxiety this matter has placed on all those involved and apologise for the time taken to conclude this matter. Reviewing a substantial amount of material meant the investigation took longer to conclude than we would have liked.


The search warrant applications were identical in relation to what the MPS was investigating (Operation Midland) and all contained details of the allegations made by Nick against each suspect. They all stated:

“The victim in this matter has been interviewed at length by experienced officers from the child abuse investigation team. His account has remained consistent and he is felt to be a credible witness who is telling the truth.”

They go on to state that:

“Prior to police involvement these allegations were detailed to an independent counsellor by the victim who also supports his account as being credible. At the request of police, a qualified consultant [to the National Crime Agency] was asked to give an opinion if the counsellor was able to make an accurate judgement of the victim’s credibility. [The doctor’s] views were that she felt the counsellor was able to make an accurate judgement of the victim’s credibility.”

They further state in relation to three murders which Nick alleged had taken place:

“Police enquiries in relation to the incident have failed at this time to identify a victim or similar event as described by the victim.”

One of the key allegations is that the warrants inaccurately stated that ‘Nick’ had remained consistent. There is evidence the MPS also had a document which highlighted a number of inconsistencies between the various accounts he had provided.

The evidence indicates this document was a rolling log maintained by MPS officers. The document, dated 27 October 2015, was sent to the CPS following a meeting on 3 November 2015. Due to the format of this document we were not able to establish exactly when this document was created, who had access to it and when it was updated.

In a statement he provided in response to a set of questions put to him by the IOPC the DS, who drafted the warrant applications and attended court to answer any questions under oath, stated that he had been provided with information including a summary of Nick’s interviews with Wiltshire Police prior to drafting.

However, he also stated that he did not read the interview transcripts as he understood they required further analysis. He could not recall with any clarity what information was available at that time. Specifically, the investigation has not been able to establish, if at the time of drafting the warrant application, the DS was aware of or had specifically identified all of the inconsistencies in Nick’s accounts.

The investigation has found no evidence that the DS deliberately withheld evidence from the applications with the intention of misleading the district judge. Nor is there sufficient evidence that he breached his duties and responsibilities in failing to ensure that the warrant application was drafted accurately.

As a result, were he still serving, he would have no case to answer for misconduct.

In relation to the DI, who was responsible for reviewing and signing the applications, in a statement she provided in response to a set of questions put to her by the IOPC she admitted having extensive knowledge of the case at the time, but given the passage of time, could not remember what specific details were known to her at what time. It is notable that at this time there was a vast amount of material generated and it would be unrealistic to expect her to have known the full detail of this material. The available evidence indicates the DI made the decision to sign the applications based on the information that was available to her at the time. We found no evidence to indicate that this decision was made in bad faith.

The investigation has found no evidence that the DI deliberately withheld evidence from the applications with the intention of misleading the district judge. Nor is there sufficient evidence that she breached her duties and responsibilities in failing to ensure that the warrant application was accurate. As a result, were she still serving, we decided she would have no case to answer for misconduct.

The DCI, the senior investigating officer, was responsible for reviewing the applications, and also attended court to answer questions from the district judge.

In interview with our investigators, she was unable to recall what information was available to her at the time of drafting and submitting the applications to the court. She highlighted that there was a vast amount of material available to the investigation and that it would be impossible to recall specifically what was available at the time. She states that she endeavoured to ensure that everything was in proper order before it went before the court and denies intentionally misleading the judge. Based on the evidence reviewed, there is nothing we have seen to suggest that the DCI acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the judge.

Because the DCI retired after the 15 December 2017, following the introduction of new disciplinary regulations for former officers and while our investigation was ongoing, the IOPC did not have jurisdiction under those regulations to continue to investigate the allegation which had been assessed to amount to misconduct only. As the investigation was well-advanced, we had already begun the decision-making process and had collated all relevant evidence for assessment. We were therefore in a position to inform her of our view that had she still been serving, she would not have had a case to answer for misconduct.

  • Child sexual abuse
  • Corruption and abuse of power