BBC and police grilled by MPs over Cliff Richard home raid

The chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has apologised to pop star Sir Cliff Richard if the force was "insensitive" about the search of his home.

David Crompton told the Home Affairs Select Committee that his inquiry had been "fatally compromised" by a claimed leak of information from Scotland Yard to the BBC, leading his force to make a deal with the broadcaster.

Sir Cliff's penthouse was searched by officers from both South Yorkshire and Thames Valley Police last month in connection with an alleged sexual assault on a young boy in 1985.

The pop star was questioned by police, but has not been charged or arrested.

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Sir Cliff Richard letter to Select Committee published

Credit: Home Affairs Select Committee

Sir Cliff Richard was not aware of the police plans to raid his Berkshire home, solicitors acting on his behalf have said.

In a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, law firm Micheal Simkins LLP said that Sir Cliff was not informed by the police in advance of the search or contacted by any media organisation.

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BBC: Reporter 'gave no clue' about Sir Cliff source

Credit: ITV News

The BBC has said that its reporter Dan Johnson did not mention officers from Operation Yewtree, the Metropolitan Police or giving "any clue" as to the source of the original tip off, and had kept notes of his meeting with South Yorkshire Police before the raid.

The broadcaster's head of newsgathering Jonathan Munro was speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee about their coverage of the raid on Sir Cliff Richard's home earlier this summer.

Mr Munro said: "Dan Johnson totally denies mentioning Yewtree by name or the Metropolitan Police force or indeed any other clue as to the identity of the source for the original story.

Police 'sent photo of Sir Cliff Richard's house to BBC'

South Yorkshire Police sent a reporter covering the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard's home in Berkshire an photograph of the building so they knew which one it was, BBC head of newsgathering Jonathan Munro has told the Home Affairs Select Committee.

BBC 'made it clear' Cliff leak came from 'Op Yewtree'

Head of the Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz MP Credit: ITV News

BBC staff "made it clear" to South Yorkshire Police that the source of the leak into the investigation into Sir Cliff Richard came from within Operation Yewtree - Scotland Yard's investigation of sexual abuse allegations against disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile and others - chief Constable David Crompton has told MPs.

Speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee, the police chief admitted he did not go to BBC senior management to ask them not to run the story - but added there were examples given during the Leveson inquiry into culture, practice and ethics of the press in which journalists had ignored such requests.

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Sir Cliff letter to Select Committee will be published

Sir Cliff Richard has written to the Home Affairs Select Committee regarding the reporting surrounding a police raid on his home in Berkshire, head of the committee Keith Vaz MP has said.

Police: BBC coverage of raid 'disproportionate'

The BBC coverage of the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard's penthouse apartment was "disproportionate" the chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has said.

"The coverage was disproportionate and made our actions look heavy-handed and intrusive. I do regret that," David Crompton told the Home Affairs Select Committee.

The BBC has already confirmed that the leak about the inquiry did not come from South Yorkshire Police.

South Yorkshire Police has already complained to the BBC about its coverage of the search of Sir Cliff's Berkshire penthouse last month, claiming that an analysis piece posted on the broadcaster's website was an attempt to distance itself from what had happened.

BBC pressure put police in 'very difficult position'

Chief constable of South Yorkshire Police David Crompton Credit: ITV News

Chief constable of South Yorkshire Police David Crompton has said that pressure from the BBC put his force in a "very difficult position" ahead of their investigation into Sir Cliff Richard.

My concern was that if we showed the BBC the door, the very clear impression which had been left with my staff in the media department was that they were likely to publish the story. That would have impeded our investigation.

I'm confident that we made the right decision in difficult and unusual circumstances.

– Chief Constable David Crompton

Chairman of the committee Keith Vaz MP put it to the senior officer that the broadcaster had blackmailed him, but Mr Crompton replied: "Blackmail is a very strong word. It put us in a very difficult position."

Mr Crompton also told the home affairs committee that he felt the BBC "over-egged the pudding" in their coverage of the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard's home.

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