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What has prompted a review of police handling of historical sex abuse?

A judge will examine how police handled claims of historical sexual abuse against public figures. Credit: Nick Ansell / PA Wire/PA Images

A look back at key events as a former High Court judge is appointed to look at how Met Police handled historical sex abuse allegations against leading public figures including politicians.

2014

  • November 2014: Operation Midland is opened as Scotland Yard announces that inquiries into historic sex abuse have "revealed further information regarding possible homicide".
  • December 2014: Police announce they are investigating the alleged murder of three young boys linked to a suspected VIP paedophile ring said to have been active in the 1970s and 1980s. A detective describes the account of an alleged victim known as Nick as "credible and true".
Harvey Proctor told the media he was the victim of a 'homosexual witch hunt'. Credit: Lauren Hurley / PA Wire/PA Images

2015

  • March 5, 2015: The home of former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor is searched by detectives from Operation Midland. Mr Proctor denies being part of a "rent-boy ring" or attending sex parties and says he knows nothing about a VIP paedophile ring or linked allegations that three boys were murdered. He says he is keen to be interviewed as soon as possible to clear his name.
  • March 8, 2015: Reports emerge that officers also attended the home of former armed forces chief and D-Day veteran Lord Bramall. He tells the BBC: "Categorically, never have I had a connection or anything to do with the matters being investigated."
  • April 2015: Lord Bramall is interviewed under caution. He is not arrested.
  • June 2015: Mr Proctor is interviewed under caution. He is not arrested.
  • August 8, 2015: Reports suggest that late former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath is being investigated as part of Operation Midland.
  • August 24, 2015: Mr Proctor is interviewed under caution for a second time. Scotland Yard says he was not arrested and will not be subject to any bail conditions.
  • August 25, 2015: Mr Proctor says he is the victim of a "homosexual witch hunt" at an extraordinary press conference in which he laid out graphic details of claims made against him and revealed former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and ex-Home Secretary Leon Brittan had been named among his "alleged co-conspirators".
  • September 2015: Scotland Yard defends the inquiry but acknowledges that describing the allegations as "credible and true" suggested it was "pre-empting the outcome of the investigation". It stresses the inquiry "remains a murder investigation".
  • October 2015: The Met raises concerns after the BBC broadcasts a Panorama programme titled The VIP Paedophile Ring: What's the Truth?
The home of 92-year-old Lord Bramall was raided before the case was later dropped. Credit: Neil Munns / PA Wire/PA Images

2016

  • January 15, 2016: Lord Bramall is told he faces no further action over historical abuse allegations after officers conclude there is "insufficient evidence". Scotland Yard comes in for fierce criticism and faces a chorus of calls to apologise to the 92-year-old.
  • January 20, 2016: Scotland Yard issues a lengthy statement saying it regrets the distress to him and his late wife during the investigation. However, the force stopped short of offering an apology.
  • February 3, 2016: Reports suggest the operation is set to close. The Met says the investigation "continues and inquiries are ongoing".
  • February 10, 2016: Scotland Yard announces it has asked former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques to conduct a review to examine the way historical sexual allegations against public figure are investigated.