Scotland Yard”s Commissioner has said he will not be “bullied” into apologising to Lord Bramall over the way his force handled historical sexual allegations against the former chief of the defence staff.
Giving evidence to MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe denied his officers were heavy-handed when they raided the home of Lord Bramall.
The Commissioner was questioned over why more than 20 police officers were sent to conduct the early morning raid on the D-Day veteran”s Surrey home in March 2015.
Committee Chairman Keith Vaz MP asked the Met Police chief whether his force was overcompensating for past failures to investigate historical allegations of sexual abuse when it came to subsequent investigations.
Mr Vaz asked: “In the case of Lord Bramall, was it right to send 22 officers into a very small village, to move his very ill wife from room to room, and start to investigate in such a public way a case against a man of 90?”
Sir Bernard replied: “I hope not. I”m sure that is one of the things that Sir Richard Henriques will consider.”
The retired judge has been appointed by Scotland Yard to carry out an independent review of the way the force handled the Operation Midland inquiry, which was set up to examine historical allegations of a paedophile ring operating within the heart of Westminster.
The Commissioner added: “Do you treat everyone the same or do you treat people who are famous differently? We think you should treat them the same.”
In later, more testy exchanges with Tory MP Tim Loughton, Sir Bernard said he would not be “bullied by a media circus” into apologising to Lord Bramall.
The former field marshal, 92, faced a 10-month long investigation into allegations he abused young boys, before eventually being told the case against him had been dropped.
Home Affairs Select Committee MPs demanded to know why Sir Bernard had personally apologised to the widow of Lord Brittan, who faced a rape allegation, which was subsequently dropped.
The Met Commissioner said the two cases were different and that he apologised to Lady Brittan over the time it took his officers to inform her that the case against the former home secretary has now ceased.
Sir Bernard said he had not apologised for the fact the investigation had been launched in the first place and that it was right to investigate such serious allegations.
He also confirmed that Scotland Yard had, by the end of last year, spent some £1.8m on Operation Midland, which continues to involve around 20 detectives on the inquiry team.