The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
10 Downing Street
5 November 2012
Dear Mr Cameron,
Congratulations on ordering a review of what information government departments may hold about organised child abuse at the heart of government 30 years ago.
In acting swiftly you have sent an important message about how seriously you take this matter. You have done the right thing and I commend you for it.
And the inquiry that you have announced performs a useful function. It is certainly important that government departments trawl their archives to see what documents they hold. But my experience of uncovering massive establishment conspiracies leaves me in no doubt that what you have suggested does not go anything like far enough. Its limited scope may even slow things down, muddy waters, damage trails. What is needed is a much wider, but equally immediate, investigation.
Since sharing my concerns with you at PMQs, a number of people have come forward to say that they raised their suspicions with the police, but investigations were not carried out. One allegation involves alleged child abuse and a former cabinet minister. We both know that many untruths are told about politicians, but this allegation was specific, informed and appeared well corroborated.
Cutting through a concerted establishment cover-up requires meticulous, diligent, fearless commitment to uncover the truth, whomever it unmasks.
My advice to you as Prime Minister – and from one father to another – is that you need to order a special police investigation, outside the affected forces, with proper resources, to review all relevant police files and those of the intelligence services. If they have documents suggesting politicians in the Commons and Lords or others in positions of power were involved in child abuse then they should make them available to a new inquiry team.
The forces so far known of be affected (Met, Surrey, West and South Yorkshire, West Mercia, Dorset, Kent, Essex, North Wales, Suffolk and Sussex) need to have their archives systematically searched for intelligence from witnesses/victims making claims which were not investigated; investigations which were closed down, and so on.
If what you really want – and I believe that it is – is the truth, then you must draw the terms of reference such that the police inquiry has licence to follow any lead it finds in what will be, after all, a serious criminal investigation. There should be no historic sexual abuse of children which is off limits to this investigation. The police should be supported by a dedicated team of child protection specialists, many of whom have been raising their concerns for years. Your advisers will tell you to be wary of “opening the floodgates”. They are wrong. Their decorous caution is the friend of the paedophile. Narrowing the inquiry equals hiding the truth. That is the reality and it is not what you want.
Detailed recommendations about how to organise an investigation is in the possession of the government. The 2002 guidance on Complex Child abuse investigations: Inter agency issues (Home Office and DoH) continues to be relevant and is referenced in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010 Investigating complex (organised or multiple) abuse (p194 6.10-1.6.13).
A dedicated police unit is essential, investigating the organised abuse of children, wherever it happened – from the seediest backstreets even to Downing Street – without fear or favour of exposing the rich and powerful, or those who covered up for them.
And if it opens a floodgate of misery, then so be it. We will all feel dirtied and sickened – as we should. Victims have an absolute right to the whole truth.
I know you want to do this and ask that you give it your urgent attention.
You have no choice.
Tom Watson MP
Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East