The police complaints watchdog is to look into a report that Wiltshire police failed properly to investigate a child sexual abuse claim lodged against the former prime minister Sir Edward Heath in the 1990s.
Sir Edward, who was prime minister from 1970 to 1974, never married and there has been speculation about his personal life over the years.
The watchdog said it was investigating whether a criminal prosecution was dropped against a person who threatened to make claims Heath “may have been involved in offences concerning children”.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it had begun its own investigation into the actions of Wiltshire police during the 1990s, when it was presented with allegations involving the former PM, who lived in Salisbury in his retirement.
“Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children”, it said.
The allegations were referred to the IPCC by Wiltshire Police following allegations made by a retired senior officer. The IPCC investigation will specifically consider how the Force responded to allegations when they were received in the 1990’s.
Following the announcement by the IPCC this afternoon that they are investigating allegations surrounding Sir Ed Heath and child abuse.
While the IPCC’s investigation is into alleged historic corruption rather than whether Heath committed a crime, it is the first time so a senior figure has been named in connection with such claims. After retiring from front-line politics he lived in Cathedral Close in Salisbury, until his death in 2005.
The polcie are working closely with the NSPCC to ensure any victims are appropriately supported.
“We have often seen from high profile national cases that victims, who have not spoken of their abuse for many years, find their voice and speak out”, he said. “Our trained helpline counsellors are always on duty round the clock to listen and provide assistance”.
He soon became a popular resident of The Close and regularly hosted parties and gatherings at his home.
He never forgave Margaret Thatcher for ousting him as Tory leader, for years nursing a grudge which became known as the “incredible sulk”.