West Mercia Police involved in Edward Heath child sex inquiry
West Mercia Police were involved in the investigation into allegations that former prime minister Sir Edward Heath raped and sexually assaulted young boys, it was revealed today.
Operation Conifer - which spanned 14 police force areas in the UK and Channel Islands - was launched by Wiltshire Police into allegations that the former PM and MP for Bexley Heath had been involved in a number of alleged sex assaults.
West Mercia Police is one of the 14 forces involved in the investigation. A disclosure was made to officers in 2014 and this was then referred to Operation Conifer in 2015.
An investigation in to Operation Conifer was carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who made their report public yesterday and said that if Heath had been alive today he would have been interviewed under caution in relation to seven of the allegations against him.
Wiltshire Police said: “Following the announcement today regarding an independent investigation by the IPCC into allegations concerning how Wiltshire Police handled an alleged claim of child sex abuse made in the 1990’s, we are carrying out enquiries to identify if there are any witnesses or victims who support the allegations of child sex abuse.
“On becoming aware of the information, Wiltshire Police informed the IPCC and later made a mandatory referral. The IPCC investigation will specifically consider how the Force responded to allegations when they were received in the 1990’s."
Operation Conifer, which cost £1.5 million, received 42 disclosures relating to 40 people over 14 different police force areas in the UK.
Helen Blake, spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said: "I can confirm West Mercia Police were one of the 14 police forces. We wouldn't go into any further detail than is contained within Wiltshire Police's summary closure report.
"I can confirm that police received one disclosure in October 2014 and this was referred to Wiltshire Police (Operation Conifer) in November 2015. This is not related to seven disclosures where Sir Edward Heath would have been interviewed under caution to gain an account."
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