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Police officers involved in cover up of paedophile ring, says former Deputy Police Chief

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A former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey's police force has today claimed senior police officers were involved in the cover up of a paedophile ring.

Lenny Harper led the investigation into allegations of child abuse at former children's home Haut de la Garenne in 2008.

Today he told the inquiry into historical child abuse in the island of his growing concern there was a top-level cover up.

I was hugely concerned there was a cover up happening in Jersey and I was concerned that a lot of evidence was going missing and that witnesses were being intimidated. There was a clear story emerging in my mind and whilst I may not have used the term paedophile ring, my view there was certainly a culture emerging in Jersey of systematic child abuse.

– Lenny Harper, former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey's police

He went on to give examples of times, he claims, officers were pressured to drop investigations: "A former senior detective where his credibility and integrity were questioned by two paedophiles. Others where a police officer on another case alleged that he was obstructed and intimidated throughout the investigation."

When asked by counsel for the inquiry who was responsible for the alleged cover up, he replied: "It was a group of individuals who were involved in a number of cases. It was the involvement of police officers that concerned me, with allegations by junior officers that led me to believe that some senior officers were involved in the cover up of abuse of children."

I was told about exhibits in a case disappearing, that officers were not allowed to look at other exhibits, generally speaking exhibits and files were going missing.

– Lenny Harper, former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey's police

He said: "A junior detective working on one of the cases said he was threatened that his career was going nowhere. There were two other officers who said they were under pressure not to follow through on their inquiries."

He also recounted previously reported allegations of abuse involving children from Haut de la Garenne being "loaned out" to members of the yachting community.

There were allegations, including several police reports about allegations involving members of the yachting fraternity and children from homes, children in effect being loaned out to people and taken on yachting trips. There were a large number of allegations of child abuse taking place which on some occasions didn't appear to have been dealt with properly.

– Lenny Harper, former Deputy Chief Officer of Jersey's police

He said: "If there is frequent and continuing child abuse in a location such as Haut de la Garenne then it is systemic. We were getting so many allegations of abuse."

Evidence from Mr Harper, being given via video link from Edinbugh, is expected to last two days.

Jersey Police say they have no comment to make while the inquiry continues.

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