A SUSSEX MP has questioned whether the police watchdog is fit for purpose, following a report published on Monday.

Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) review of Operation Midland, the disastrous investigation into false claims of a VIP Westminster paedophile ring, has taken “too long” and has raised concerns that only one of the officers involved was interviewed in person.

The IOPC report found no evidence of misconduct by five officers, but said the investigation “revealed gaps and shortcomings where there is room for improvement to reduce the risk of future failings”.


Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Loughton said: “Six years ago the then chief constable of Sussex was found to have breached privilege after an investigation by the standards and privileges committee into a vexatious investigation against me.

“My subsequent complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) took over three and a half years to uphold four out of the five complaints, by which time all of the officers investigated had retired and therefore no penalties could take place.

“It looks as though the same has happened now with the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“What’s the minister now going to do to ascertain whether the IOPC, almost two years after it took over from the IPCC,

is actually fit for purpose?”

Home Office Minister Kit Malthouse said: “The honourable gentleman raises a very important point which is about timeliness of investigations by the IOPC, and some of the timelines in some of these investigations is unacceptably long.

“We do have plans to bring in measures next year to urge or to compel or incentivise the IOPC to complete its investigations in under 12 months.

“And measures will be brought in such as if an investigation goes over 12 months, they will have to issue an explanation as to why that is the case.”