UK & World News
Westminster Child Abuse: Call For Cop Amnesty
A former Special Branch police officer has called for an amnesty to help retired colleagues share what they knew of the paedophile network operating in Westminster in the 1980s.
Chris Hobbs, who had a 32-year career with the Metropolitan Police, told Sky News many former officers would be carefully considering the implications of revealing what they knew about the allegations.
Mr Hobbs said: "It is clear that quite a few police officers probably from commissioner, chief constable rank right the way down to detective constables will know something."
"I think the only way that you will get all police officers to come forward is to offer them some sort of protection, some sort of amnesty.
"It would help set officers' minds at rest ... that they weren't suddenly going to subject to the criminal investigations for just possibly doing what they were told.
"I certainly heard nothing in the 80s other than Cyril Smith - and every police officer in London had heard the rumours about Cyril Smith."
The late Rochdale MP is one of the named abusers of young boys, but the current allegations also concern political figures who are still alive.
Mr Hobbs added that the Metropolitan Police's track record in dealing with whistleblowers is another reason why former officers may be reluctant to step forward.
He said: "They will be thinking to themselves, 'shall I come forward, dare I risk it or if I keep my head down will the storm pass me by?'."
Peter Garsden, president of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, said any amnesty would need to be carefully put together.
He told Sky News: "It depends what they are being given an amnesty against - if it is an intention to pervert the course of justice then that is fine. However, if they are part of a paedophile ring that involves the MPs then one does not want to let them off a criminal prosecution."
The Metropolitan Police could not comment on whether any amnesty scheme has been considered in relation to their current investigations.