The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has said it is set to investigate Wiltshire Police’s handling of an alleged claim of child sexual abuse made about former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath in the 1990s.
Wiltshire Police have released the following statement;
“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.
“Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.
“We are working closely with the NSPCC to ensure that any victims are appropriately supported. They provide trained helpline counsellors to listen and provide assistance.
“We take all reports of child abuse, either current or that occurred in the past very seriously. Victims will receive support throughout any investigation and associated judicial process.
“If there is evidence of offences having been committed we will ensure that , if possible, those responsible are held to account through a thorough and detailed investigation. This includes any other parties who are identified as having been involved in child sex abuse.
“Some people may never have spoken out about the abuse they have suffered but we would urge them to please contact us and to not suffer in silence.
“Please call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email email@example.com as they have dedicated staff in place to deal with victims or if you have information that may help police please call us via 101.” Ends
Chief Executive of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless said: “It’s important that people who believe they have been victims of abuse have the confidence to speak out knowing that their voices will be listened to.
Whether abuse happened in the past, or is occurring today, whether those being accused are authority figures or not, allegations of crimes against children must be investigated thoroughly.
While some people wait years before speaking out, we would urge them to act quickly so they can get help as soon as possible. Our trained helpline counsellors are always on duty round the clock to listen and provide assistance.”