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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Children in the care of Lambeth Council Investigation Report


H.1: Introduction

1. In this Part, we consider specific allegations about improper interference in investigations in Lambeth in the late 1990s. Specifically, we consider whether a police investigation known as Operation Trawler was improperly ended to protect high-profile individuals. We also consider the origins of Operation Trawler, its replacement by Operation Middleton and the Children’s Homes in Lambeth Enquiry (CHILE), and whether political considerations played a part in the events that led to the establishment of Operation Middleton.

2. Speculation appeared in the media from 2014 about several public figures said to be linked to children’s homes in Lambeth, and whether political influence protected some high-profile individuals from investigation.

2.1. Former detective inspector (DI) Clive Driscoll (now Dr Driscoll) spoke to the BBC in 2014 about the circumstances in which he was removed from a police investigation – Operation Trawler – into Lambeth Council’s children’s homes in the 1990s. Dr Nigel Goldie (a former assistant director of corporate strategy and quality at Lambeth Council) also questioned whether DI Driscoll was removed from the investigation because he named politicians said to have been linked to Lambeth Council’s children’s homes. The implication was that he had been removed to protect these individuals from investigation.[1]

2.2. In July 2015, The Mirror newspaper published an article alleging that, in 1998, the government was briefed about an investigation in which a minister was a suspect before the investigation was halted. It cited Dr Driscoll as saying that he had been stopped from investigating the minister in 1998 after he named the politician as a suspect. The article also quoted Dr Goldie as having said that he had a discussion with the government inspector about this politician. The implication of this article was that the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) was briefed about the Driscoll investigation, a possible link between Lambeth Council’s children’s homes and a government minister, and that steps were taken to end the investigation because of this link.[2]

3. In this Part, we also consider whether there is any evidence to support the speculation that, in 1998, the names of politicians (including the then MP, Mr (now Lord) Paul Boateng) said to have visited Angell Road children’s home were provided to the Metropolitan Police Service or to Lambeth Council, and that this information was provided to the SSI (and thereafter provided to the Minister of Health, Mr Frank Dobson MP, or to Mr Boateng, then a parliamentary under secretary in the Department of Health).


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