"Well I joined the police in the beginning of the 1990s. My early career was just as a uniformed officer and I sort of ... progressed into the CID department and all was going well without incident and then I moved on to a specialist operation which was tracking down transient paedophiles because the Sex Offenders Registry Act had been brought in 1997, and they were finding that a lot of sex offenders were going off the radar, were going missing."
"It was a good little role," says John, "But things started to go awry." Sex offenders were required to sign the sex offenders register. Some of them were going missing; but they were going to live on canal boats. John was told that they`d got two but there were probably a couple more. "You`re on it for the next few months. See if you can double the figure and find two more. "Well what happened," says John, "was within a few months there was about ninety, and with that, it sort of exposed there was a loophole in the law that allowed people to live on canal boats, avoid registry and just act with impunity."
"So these people could have anonymous lives effectively and they`re there living in an area but because they`re on a boat they don`t have to identify themselves. They`re not on the council register ... "
"Yeah, they were basically living like a free life and no-one knew where they were or what they were doing or anything." John explains that it was quite like a hippy alternative community who would welcome fellow boaters but they didn`t realise who they had living next door to them. "And on a few occasions, some of these people were pulling up in the boating community and there were children there and they were offering to act as baby sitters and things like that... There were some dangerous sex offenders there. And the canal system back then, you know, no-one ever went there. It was sort of basically out the remit but [the] canals are so old that they sort of transgressed boundary borders. So the Registry Act said you had to register as a sex offender within the police district where you resided within 28 days. But some of these canals, they actually straddled police districts. On some occasions three or four districts would merge at one area. So you could be living on a canal boat and on your 27th day move to the other side of the bank and then you would get another 28 days."
"And ... kids are attracted to canals and also back then there was a programme called Rosie and Jim."
"Just remind me when you`re talking ..."
"It would be about late 90s ... and there was a children`s programme, Rosie and Jim, and it was sort of glamourising life on a canal and - hey it`s not a bad life - but these people were living there and no-one knew where they were or what they were doing."
"And what happened then was... that highlighted what was going on and started to get a lot of national interest from National Crime Agencies and started to get a lot of help from what used to be the National Crime Squad and also the Scotland Yard Paedophile Unit to work conjointly because of the successes I was having. And I can always remember a corridor conversation, as we call it, with a very seasoned experienced Paedophile Unit detective - a real good man - and he drags me to one side and he says: `You know it`s a bizarre world because in any form of policing when you get too good at your job, you get promoted and you get looked after. In this game, when it involves those high up`, and by that he was meaning politicians and people in the upper echelons of society, he said `It`s a problem`."
John asked him what he meant. "Well, I`m hearing your name mentioned in a lot of places now`. He said: `You`re getting a bit too good at what you`re doing`. He said: `You`ve got to be very very careful son`. And I said: `Well why, why is it like that?` And he turned round to me and said: ... `On two occasions we had Leon Brittan, ... the Tory MP - we had him bang to rights and on both occasions the funding was pulled`. He said: `They will do the same to you`."
"... Literally two weeks after that I get called into a senior officer`s room..."
"What sort of rank officer would he be?"
"We`re talking Chief Inspector at the time. But it`s a small unit, so Chief Inspector was quite senior really. He said: `Look, sorry to say it but we`re withdrawing you from the operation. I said: `But why?` He said: `Look, I can`t tell you but it`s come from high up. It`s been shut down.` ... I was a bit confused ... I said: `That`s unfair. This is really going places.` He said: `Look, you`re going to be commended and you can have any job you want. Don`t worry about it. We`ve been told to look after you, but unfortunately it`s out of my hands. It`s been pulled`."
"So they were shutting down all of the work in relation to paedophiles living in this canal network?"
"Yeah. ... And I was getting enquiries from all over the world: coming from the Falkland islands, the Channel islands, a lot of the islands funnily enough. But everywhere they were coming in... it was mushrooming. And I just couldn`t get it; but then this fella`s words resonated with me and I was a bit - I was disgusted to be honest, and I couldn`t get any answers. No answers at all. And fellas that were working on the support side of it, they were really apologetic and upset and said: `Look, there was nothing we could do about it.` So I said: `I`m not staying. I`m leaving.` So I left and I got a job with - you know it was quite an elite unit - the Police Clubs Vice unit. Clubs Vice, they had the governance for anything to do with vice. It could be prostitution, gambling, but also for a lot of the big licenses for nightclubs because London is the clubbing centre..."
"Street offences related to the old Street Offences Act of the last century which refers to ... street prostitution. And our job was to go and arrest street prostitutes; but also we had governance for juveniles. If a juvenile was found on the street in a red light area, late at night, the police would be involved in it. They were to be... brought in, taken into protective custody. And every now and then a child would be found, usually a girl, and our job was to then bring her in, call social services. The kid would then be placed into protective custody whilst social services worked out an emergency protection order, a CPO."
"What sort of age? ..."
"Fourteen, you know... it tended to be under seventeen.... The law prior to the implementation .... It`ll come to me ... Sexual Offences Act I think - it got amended in 2003 - was quite complicated... It was gender specific as well. Offences against boys were different to offences against girls. And ... anyway, we would find these kids and take them into custody ... But the problem then was that it was a competitive environment. So it was number crunching. So you were given a target ... Three cars were put out a night and you would have a competition... And ten would be a good figure. And if you did that every day of the week you were the top team ... And you could process a prostitute very quickly via custody and it was pointless because all of them were drug addicts. All of them had come from the care system; and if you brought a kid in, that was your night finished. The car was taken off the road; and that was it; so that you wouldn`t get the figures. So you were encouraged not to deal with them."
"Right, that`s a very interesting comment, isn`t it? - for people who look to the police to be protecting the weak and vulnerable in society..."
"Well... it`s shocking because if you think about it; if a man has sex with a prostitute, it`s the woman who commits the offence right; but that`s a woman of consenting age. Someone has sex with a child, that`s rape; and you`re talking a major crime offence. You`re talking an offence that carries a lot of tariff. Yet they`re committing major crime and you`re just sort of waived from dealing with it. And I remember bringing one little girl in - she was fourteen - round about fourteen and a lot of these kids were undernourished and they were heavily infected with diseases like hepatitis C. Some had HIV and things like that, you know. So they looked younger than their age. And one young girl brought in, she had scabies due to her lifestyle. And the moaning they gave me for bringing the girl in was they said: `The car will now need to be cleaned; the room that you`re taking her to will need to be fumigated ... she`s always shouting and screaming and it`s pointless anyway because she`ll be back out tomorrow.` So it was appalling really...."
"And this was being told to all the police. It wasn`t just yourself. Anybody who was involved in this type of work was told this?"
"That was the rule, the unwritten rule... What happened was there was information from the moment I came in regarding one particular woman. Her street name was Foxy. And she was a larger than life character. And she was a street prostitute. She was rumoured to be pimping out young girls. And I heard the rumours from the moment I walked in the office. But nothing was ever done about this woman. Anyway I sort of got moved on, on merit. I did very well on the street and..."
"What was your rank then?"
"Detective... And I was chosen to go on to quite an elite little unit, not dealing with vice but dealing with other stuff, more organised crime. And I went on to that and I did incredibly well but then I was asked to come back to vice and to be the senior investigating officer in an allegation of child prostitution. But by that time I think what we need to establish as well was that from 2000 I had been a lone parent of four children... And the relevance will become apparent shortly. So not only was I asked to work, going back with the children, I was now looking after children. They were all at that time under ten and one was an infant. So it was a bit hard going for me. And the hours were irregular and you know childcare was a bit of a nightmare, especially if you`re dealing with kids being taken in care orders. You know your day can be a long one."
"But I was told sort of: `Look we`d like you to go on it.` So I did it. And it was a young girl called Zoey, and Zoey I think was about fourteen... again, very young looking for her age. Zoey looked about twelve. And she`d made an allegation that this woman Foxy had been pimping her out. And she`d made a couple of allegations and they hadn`t gone anywhere. So what I was told was that she`d made allegations before; she`s a bit of a nightmare. She might be lying; she might not, but she`s a bit persistent ... So I went to see the girl. I made an appointment. I was told she`s very anti-police ... and she`s a bit of a handful. So I went with a colleague... So what I would do would be just to sit down and start doodling or drawing or something like that; engage with them... ice breaking stuff and then the conversation, the narrative ... Anyway we started chatting and everything else and she turned round to me and she said: `You`re different to all the others`... I said: `That`s alright. I don`t mean to...` I hated wearing a suit and I liked the street, and she said...`I`m happy to talk to you`... I said: `OK, Let`s do it properly then.` She said: `Alright.` We had an agreement, shook hands."
"We made an appointment to do a proper - what we call an ABE interview - which is like a video recorded interview. And we sat down. We had a chat ... and she told me the story start to finish. And she`s the product of a broken family; her mother was a drug addict; her father was absent and the mother was buying drugs off this girl Foxy. And Foxy then started to groom her as her mother was unable to look after her. She then ended up living with the grandparents but the grandparents lived in a red light area. And so Foxy would go and pick this young girl up and basically show her some attention, a bit of love, do her hair for her, give her make up, but then introduced her to cannabis. She got her smoking cannabis and would then take her to hotels. These were bottom end hotels These were the sort of places where a lot of builders would go to, you know. So they would be like converted Victorian houses ... In one area of London, there`s a big row of them..."
"So Foxy had an agreement with the night porters, and the night porters would make a room available for her. So she would take her clients in there. So she`d go in there with her client; start having sex and have this young girl watching and then encourage the young girl to get involved. I mean from there she would then start giving the young girl the bigger drugs. So the class A drugs is what they want kids on. Once they`ve got them on the class A drugs, especially the crack cocaine, it`s got a real grip on them, you know. And this girl had no way of getting these drugs as she relied on Foxy as her medicine ... So she got her on crack cocaine and then she started pimping the young girl out ... And then she would get the young girl to introduce her friends to it. So she was then introducing her friends, also... from families that are drug addicts, or whatever. And so ... or in the care system. In fact, all the kids were subject to care orders whether they were residential care orders or just normal care orders...They`re all known to social services..."
"So she came... with another kid. So I went to see that girl. Her story was identical and the other thing was .. what about the police? Do the police ever get involved? And both girls said: ...`If... the police came, Foxy would hide us in a bush but she knew the coppers anyway. She would flirt with them and they would just let her go... But also there`s a judge; there`s a judge involved`. `So what do you mean?` `Oh a judge in the magistrate`s court. So when Foxy`s charged in front of a judge, the judge is our client anyway. So the judge lets her off.` So I checked this out. I went through the disposal history, the criminal history of this girl and found she keeps getting bind overs, this Foxy. So I thought right there`s something in this. So all of a sudden, these girls introduce me to other girls who introduce me to other girls and these ages went down to nine years old... You know some came from traveller sites; some actually came from the residential care home and there was no-one looking out for them and these kids were known to the police because they were regular absconders from care. And they were regularly found in red light areas and no-one had actually pieced any of this together. So I started to pull it all together...and information was coming in from drug dealers on the street. They were also concerned about it; and also other prostitutes were coming forward and talking to us, you know, and saying this is what is happening."
"I then got approached by a social worker ... and at the time this operation, this work was mainly in Westminster and it started spiralling out to the outer boroughs of London and into the provinces and this was from Croydon and the social worker said: `Look, we`ve got a big problem down Croydon` and my enquiries did start to lead to Croydon."
"And the significance of this is that it`s now moving into areas of a better class of person. Is that what it means?"
"Well at first... it was central London where there`s a transient population and people don`t tend to live there. They just work there. And when they`re working away from home - a bit like someone going to Thailand - they will commit a crime... soliciting a prostitute or whatever. They`ve got the anonymity of being a tourist; but when they live in an area, there`s a different mindset. So it`s going into an area that`s more residential and yeah I would say some of the areas were bad areas ... and I think most of them had their own social problems but there was a lot of residential kids homes in these outer boroughs and a lot of kids were being farmed out. And kids would network. So if a kid was taken into a secure unit for whatever reason they would go in there; they would network with other kids and the main way of earning money was either through violent crime, robbery...or prostitution."
"So these networks are all set up and there was no-one looking into them at all. Anyway, a social worker from Croydon said: `You know, we`ve got a problem.` I said `OK.` The social worker said: `Look we have meetings regularly about... these girls, and they are in trouble. One girl, she had such infections inside her that she would regularly pass blood and all sorts of nastiness would come out - because she had cysts inside her, through prostitution. And she was a young kid, you know... If something isn`t done, this kid is going to die. She`s being pimped out. She`s on her knees this girl... But we invite the police along ... We have been doing it for nearly ten years and each time they refuse.` I said: `Well who are you inviting?` `Your unit, the Vice Unit. We`ve invited them so many times; they know about this`."
"So I then went back in the records and I went back ten years and I went back through all the records of kids found in red light areas over the last ten years ... and I was contacting some of these kids who were now adults and I said: `Well, what was happening?` They said: `Well the police found us. They told us... to do one: get out of here; and they would just ignore us. They knew we were being pimped out.` I said: `Did anyone get taken in for it?` They said: `No. We were doing it all the time.` So it had been going on historically and the unit had known about it."
"So, how long had it been going on?"
"All the time I was on there. I had gone back ten years and it had gone back further than that. And these were the select red light areas: Kings Cross, Islington, Westminster, all inner London, and they were the main ones where the kids were being worked. But now Croydon was coming to note but the police knew about Croydon as well ... It wasn`t any news, you know. But then what you`ve also got is Missing Persons Unit. So someone goes missing, Missing Persons Unit will be appointed, look into it ... investigate it. But every time a child comes back late or fails to attend a kids home curfew ... say about nine o`clock, eight o`clock, they don`t turn up; the police are called; the forms filled out; it was just a process. `They would come back.` So these missing persons, they knew about them. They knew about these kids and they were just seen as a nuisance. It was just routine: `Oh so and so has gone missing again. They`ll be back tomorrow`... They fill out the form. They call it ACE: arse covering exercise. It`s the only reason they do it. No-one looks into the reasons why these kids are going missing."
"So I drafted up a report. It was factually based; it was concise and it had evidence backing it. It was small; it was a precis of a report; it was just highlighting the extent of the problem, the history behind the problem, the results of the problem and the fact that kids are suffering; and they`re also grooming other kids into it. It`s a self perpetuating monster. And I just put in a few other opinions, you know, the factual opinions of the social workers."
"And in that report, were you also highlighting the fact that the police were not acting as they should - or police officers hadn`t acted?"
"What I did was - I was always mindful of the fact that I`ll never reinvent the wheel and I`m no better than anyone else - so I don`t want to criticise a colleague. But what I put was these kids were known to the police, investigations were never followed up, whatever rationale. I didn`t criticise anyone but it has to be noted that this isn`t a new thing. This has been known about .... There are allegations involving a judge and that other police officers are aware and there was also someone connected to the music department of the BBC... a manager of that. Anyway, that went in, and I thought right they`ve been made aware now. And I would always put reports on, for whatever reason, reports would go on... intelligence reports. Police work on intelligence."
"And then I get a phone call within about an hour of the report going through. And it was from the Governing Detective Inspector. And he said to me.... `About this report you`ve put on, it`s looking good, brilliant. Now I`ll show the goose that is giving the golden eggs and hopefully this will move forward.`"
"I really thought I was going to get praise for it. And then what happened was he said: `We need you to talk now. Get in my office now.` I went: `OK.` I went down to see him. I was in a different building. I travelled down, went into his office and it was like someone had set a pit bull on me: like he`s swearing and shouting and `What have you done? You can`t do things like this. I`m taking it and shutting it down. I`m taking you off.` He withdrew me straight away from the operation and that really upset me you know because I was moving forward... And I thought if I go.... who`s doing it? And looking back on it, I did a good job... and I don`t want to be conceited but that`s what happened, you know. And I was mortified., absolutely mortified."
"What was in your head about why you`d got this response? You thought you were going to be praised for it. You get attacked by a pit bull.... Why did you think it was?"
"Well, it was some sort of weird cognitive distortion because he turned round and said: `Look, we`ve known about this and the reason the kids are talking to you now was because they were dealt with properly ten years ago and they`re now happy to come forward and talk to you`. ... due to the good work of other officers before me. And it was just absolutely dire nonsense. ... I was literally totally confused. But it was done with such aggression. And what the police used to call it was a hair dryer ... screaming and shouting. And I walked away really licking my wounds and scratching my head."
"So I didn`t go back to work. What the hell`s going on? ... I went back to work the next day. Anyway I get a phone call and it was from the high up boss, the Detective Chief Superintendent in the unit. And he said: `John, what`s gone on?` I said: `Well I don`t know. I`m a bit confused.` He went: `We need to have a chat.` And I said: `OK.` He said: `Well don`t rush back to work. Have the summer on me....Take your kids away.`"
"What date is this now?"
"This was 2004, round about that time. And this was in the summer... `And when you get back, when you`re ready, let`s sort all this out. It`s not going to be a problem.` And to be honest with you, I liked the fella. Nice bloke. I said: `Really?` He went: `Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do`t worry about it.` He trivialised everything."
"Anyway I came back. But it was on my mind all the time. Because these kids weren`t getting served ...There was no-one there for these kids. And they relied on you. ... They relied on me for protection and they wanted to win....because also behind this was organised criminality. The girl that was running it, she was backed up by some very very serious gangsters and it resulted in me getting credible death threats ... and there was money at stake here, the livelihoods of these people, and they were connected to gangsters, you know. And these kids were scared. And some of these kids, if they went back home, if they went back to the ghetto where these people were operating, they were petrified."
"So I came back to work and sure enough the boss calls me in... `No I`m not talking to you on my own. I want someone with me.` So I got a representative from the Human Resource Department... And he said to me: `John, well what`s happening? ... Make me a cup of tea.` I said: `Well I`ll only talk to you if I can be honest.` He said: `Yeah, well that goes both ways.` I said: `OK.` I said: `Well what`ve I done?...: I really thought I`d done well. I exposed this, I done this ... And he turned round to me and said: `Well that`s the problem. You exposed it. We knew you could dig, but we never knew you could dig that deep.` He then said: `What you`ve exposed is gonna F... us, past, present and future. This cannot and will not ever get out. You see, if you mention a word of this, you will be thrown to the wolves.` He then said: `You will lose everything and that means your job, your home, your kids. You will lose it all. You need to shut your Effing mouth.` And I was just dumbstruck... And he said: `We never thought you would dig this deep. You have no understanding how deep this goes`."
"So you`re a Detective Constable, so one would have thought that in your job, someone who was professionally good at their job, would be good at digging. You dig. You absolutely start to see what`s going on and then - I`m just going to use the phrase `these people`. These people are so confident that they threaten you, point blank in a room with a witness ..."
"Yeah. At the time my youngest boy was still quite young. And I was petrified I would have my kids taken off me. I really thought I`d crossed the Mafia and you`re right it was the confidence, the way it was portrayed against me and the other thing which was very bizarre, he said: `How do you think you`ve been treated? Do you think you`ve been bullied?` `You`re damn right I`ve been bullied.` He said: `You have. You`ve been bullied.` He said: `There`s a form to fill out... I`m instructing you to get it now. Fill it out.` And the police is absolutely awash with these forms. There`s forms for everything. And he told me the number of the form. He said: `You fill it out and you put exactly what`s gone on. You`ve got to do that son`.... `I will.`.. And then he said: `Do you know what will happen to it? It will go somewhere and it will get investigated. I tell you what will happen.` He said: `All those you`ve mentioned will be brought in and they will be interviewed.`... `That` brilliant`... He said: `Then it will come to me to be ratified.` He said: `And d`you know what I`ll do with it?` ... `Pass it to Corruption Command or something like that, I don`t know.` He said: `Well not really,` and he points to a bin. `It will go in that bin and it will stay in there... I will never betray third rank and nor will they.`... He got my hand and said: `You`ve got to give me a gentleman`s agreement now, you`ll never ever look into child prostitution ever again`."
"Now what happened there Brian, was I left there totally, totally frightened, really frightened. That was a bit of a spiral downhill for me. And then over the coming years I left that unit...and I said: `I can`t work under you`."
"So, these are colleagues and you`re doing a difficult and a dangerous job out on the ground. You rely on the backing of your police colleagues to actually protect you against people who are organised crime. Why don`t they go for you? Because they know if they go for you you`re going to be protected by the police. And here are your police colleagues simply turning round and threatening you in the same way, which is vicious."
"Vicious. And it is a conspiracy. And conspiracies exist in law. You can conspire to commit murder; it`s a statute of law. It`s a criminal offence.... There`s no theory about it. This is conspiracy reality. And I was in the centre of a very horrible conspiracy. And so far I couldn`t tell anyone. I genuinely thought they would come for me and come for my children. And the other thing is I`ve seen first hand what the care system is, and there`s nothing caring about it. You know it`s a paedophile`s playground.... The other thing is I was working with informants and a lot of these informants had been in the care system and one of them turned round to me and said: `Whatever you do, never let your children go into care because what`ll happen is, if you aint there` - one of my kids was a little bit behind with things; I`d been telling him about it - `they`ll go for him straight away`..."
"Right, so what happens now then? ..You`ve been threatened..."
"What happens is I say: `I can`t work under you` ... and I go into a Child Abuse Unit, and I end up in North London, a very busy part of North London and I start on this unit and we`re investigating child abuse. And I`m in there and I get approached by Detective Sergeant who says: `Look as well as being an investigator, do you want to take on a new additional role?` So I said: `Like what?` `There`s all sorts of things you can do.` So I said: `Is there one to do with liaising with children`s homes?` He went: `Yeah yeah yeah, there is. The girl left two years ago.`... `Was there any issues with it?` He said: `No no, no issues. It`s an easy number. You`ll get given a day here and there to go and deal with it ... Over two years she never had any issues at all.` I said: `Did child prostitution ever crop up?` `Oh no no. We don`t get any of that.` ... "
"Now this was the London borough of Haringey. Now Haringey has the most amount of kids homes of any sort of local authority in the country. There`s about 22 to 26 care homes for a small London borough. Anyway, I was given assurances that there was no problem. So I picked up the phone and I asked for a list of all the care homes from social services; so they faxed it through; because the police didn`t have a copy of it - with the phone numbers. So I rang them up ... I told them who I was. I said; `Nothing to worry about but this is what I`m looking into.` I said: `How many children have you got?` `About five.` I said: `How many do you lose at a weekend, to crime and prostitution and things like that?` And he went: `Oh three.` I went: `You what?` He said they usually go missing on the Thursday and come back on the Monday. I said: `Do you think they`re involved in prostitution?` `Oh well we know they are.` I said: `Well right. Have the police been to speak to you about it?` He went; ` No. The police come and pick up the missing person. But the kids come back.` I said: `Well what are the kids like?` `Oh they`re in a right state some of them. Some of them are bleeding. Some of them are so high on drugs we know that come Wednesday they`re going to be kicking off because they`ve not had their drugs. They`ve all got money on them, you know.` I said: `Oh my God.` That was like real time... I`ve got three kids within six minutes. By the end of three days I found fifty children.... So I held a strategy meeting and I brought in [Haringey] social services."
"I had a representative who dealt with child trafficking from Barnardo`s. I had connections - a lot of these youth NGO groups and there was a lot of people there. And I laid out my plan. I worked out a formula for how to deal with it, using a simple ... section of the Children`s Act relating to taking a child out of care... I`d done my research."
"And I was just attacked; firstly, by a head of Social Services who started screaming at me, saying: `What have you done? That`s fifty care plans we`ve got to implement because of you.` I said: `But you must have known about these kids.` `Well yeah, but they didn`t come to notice, so we weren`t bothered ...We`ve got so much work to do ... You`re an absolute nightmare for us; you`re a headache.`... So I wasn`t going to get much help from there. And then Barnardo`s, the woman in charge of that unit, she then turned round and said: `You`re treading on toes. You know for a fact a child will never betray their pimp.`... And I said: `What d`you mean?`... `Well you`ll never prove it because `...I said: `I know that, that`s why I`m working on this other statute. It will give me a power to search, seize property and everything.` `You can`t just do that. There`s a protocol here. There is a senior officer who I`ll be reporting you to `cos they`re already dealing with it.` I went: `Well who`s that?` She mentioned his name."
"By a senior officer she meant a senior police officer?"
"A senior police officer, yes, who was in Vice. Now Vice had governance for that. This was another matter. I said: `Well there`s operation money... I need to talk to this man.` And she placed twenty actions on me that I had to complete before I did any work. And each action could take me days."
"Sorry, who placed those actions on you?"
"This is Barnardo`s. Because it was a partnership working. We deal with children; it`s all working together, you know. And I was absolutely flabbergasted... So I spoke to my Inspector and he said: `We`ll just crack on. Do`t worry about it. Crack on and do what you`ve got to do.` So the next day I went out and I got a result straight away. I got a girl who was being pimped out. I got a pimp. And it worked."
"So then I get a call from this ... Chief Superintendent. So I had to go up to one of the police buildings. And he said: `You`re treading on toes... Back off. We`ve got an officer dealing with this.` I said: `Dealing with what?` ... `Prostitution of children from care homes in London. We`ve got it under wraps.` And I said: `Well who is it?` So he gave me the name of this girl. And I called her ... She said: `That`s a load of crap. I`ve been to a meeting. But I`ve never dealt with any victims... I don`t even know where these kids homes are. I`ve not even visited one.` I said: `So you`re not investigating?` She said: `How can I?` It was a load of lies. So that was shut down."
"Then lo and behold I`m moved. And then I get a call that... Zoey, the young girl who was at the centre of the other operation, was found dead on the streets, a suspicious overdose. She was found dumped in the street dead. By that time she was getting on to fifteen... A year or so had passed."
"So a fifteen year old girl`s just found dead ...?"
"A key witness to this case. Dumped on the street. And then it just absolutely destroyed me, you know, and they never investigated another case of child prostitution; the Vice Unit never did. What happened then was I left. I got moved. So I ended up having to deal with other sorts of crime involving children but was never dragged back into that area."
"I shut my mouth for quite a while. And then what happened was the Jimmy Savile scandal broke and I thought: `My God. It`s not just me. There`s others.` And then Clive Driscoll came forward and then Lenny Harper from the States of Jersey police, the senior officer there. He was running the care home enquiry in Haut de la Garenne, Jersey. And it gave me a bit of hope. But then that was shut down. And I can remember him on telly saying ...the lab report said the bones are coconut, not bone. And I`m thinking there`s been a cover-up. So I then came forward. In 2014, I went to the Inspector first and said: `I need to talk to someone. I want to make an allegation of serious corruption involving child prostitution cover up,` and he totally dismissed it. So I then went to the Corruption Command and said: `I need to speak to someone very very senior. It has to be a detective and it has to be a woman.` And he said: `Well what d`you mean?` [John explains that a woman will not have a masonic link.]...Masonry does have a big strong hold in the police... But then when you become a detective, it intensifies. And when you`re a detective you`ve a specialist role and it`s almost like a stick of rock.... I`m not knocking it; I work with many of them. I`ve not got an issue with it, but it is another allegiance that you don`t need."
"...I tell you how much it has an impact. When I went to a job agency to try and get work as a civilian detective, I was told by the agency: `Have you been, or are you a mason?` And I said: `Well why are you asking that?` And he said: `We cannot take anyone who is, or has been, a mason.` I said: `Well why is that?` And he said: `Because it has ruined too many enquiries`..."
"OK, so sticking with what happened to you. So you decided that you were going to whistleblow."
"I whistleblew and I made an allegation against a senior officer who since then had been promoted ... and I was assured that this would be taken in the ... utmost seriousness, and `Don`t worry. We will investigate it.` I said: `OK.` I then get informed by the Metropolitan Police Federation that I`m to be served with ... misconduct papers. So I said: `What`ve I done?` He said: `You`ve data protection violations.` I said: `I haven`t violated anything.` They said: `Well don`t worry. We`re sure it`ll be a management action.` `Right OK`. "
"Then the police were dragging their heels over my allegations. So I pushed forward and they wouldn`t reply to me. So I made a complaint to the IPCC, the Independent Police Complaints Commission. They said: `We won`t get involved.` Then all of a sudden my misconduct allegations had been elevated to gross misconduct. `Really, well why?` Well, I was told then: `Don`t worry, we`re going to look into it and it`ll be resolved`."
"I then got put in touch with an MP called Simon Danczuk...who was championing the abuse cover-ups and you see more and more cover-ups coming out. One of the key ones was the Rotherham scandal. And there was a detective from Greater Manchester police called Maggie Oliver and I was asked if I wouldn`t mind being put in touch with Maggie Oliver. Her story`s very similar to mine. So I met with Maggie Oliver and her story was strikingly similar and what she said to me was: `John watch it. Have they served you misconduct papers yet?` `Yeah.` She said: `You`ll get arrested next. Because that`s what they did to me. You`ll go before a tribunal. You`ll be found guilty and they`ll sack you. That`s exactly what they did to me. And that`s what they`ll do to you. They`ll raid your house and they`ll do everything."
"John just tell us what, just really briefly, what was her story? You say it`s strikingly similar. Was she dealing with children?"
"She was dealing with children from the care system in Rotherham, in South Yorkshire I think. Well Greater Manchester, it comes under the Greater Manchester policing district. And it was young girls being groomed and pimped out by Asian minicab firms and everything else. ... But these kids` clients, you know, the clientele, were people who had a bit of money and everything else and she exposed it and she was bullied... into silence. Told to shut her mouth, forget about it. And it was exactly the same as what I was dealing with, but on a provincial level. And her bullying, she encountered was exactly the same as mine. But she did get sacked. ... And she was stitched up. And she was stitched up by Peter Fahy who at the time was Chief Constable of Greater Manchester police. ... The similarities are striking."
"I then get put in touch with a man called Lenny Harper. And Lenny Harper had exposed the child abuse, murder and, you know, sexual abuse scandal in Haut de la Garenne. And the other thing was that it had been covered by you know a really good friend and a proper activist Bill Maloney... So I got in touch with him. So Lenny said: `Come and see me. So I went up to see Lenny and he told me his story, and again, the similarities were absolutely unbelievable."
"So there`s a template in operation here, as to what happens to police officers that stand up and say: `There`s a cover-up of child abuse`."
"Yep. And also that they are bullied so monumentally that some of these coppers are committing suicide. I then get asked to go to a whistleblower`s forum in parliament. And there`s a retired Chief Constable there called Tom Boyd from Cambridgeshire and he then hears my story and says: `Well this is shocking. But you`re not alone.` And via that I get put in touch with a Detective Sergeant from Hampshire who had exposed a kids home enquiry, child prostitution, in the Isle of Wight. And he had been bullied almost to the point of suicide and ...he`s got an outreach group. And he says: `There`s so many coppers who are topping themselves. This is what they will do`... I`ve got three coppers, all of them uncovered child abuse, high level child abuse; all of them have been bullied monumentally to the point of suicide. And each one warned me what would happen."
"So I thought well this is outrageous. The public need to know and the police and the IPCC kept covering it up ... The IPCC even said: If I wrote to them again, they wouldn`t even answer my letters."
"So I then took the matter to the Cabinet. I got in touch with the Policing and Crime minister, Mike Penning, and said: `You need to sit down with me.` And he did. He said he was shocked and stunned at what I was saying. He afforded me privilege. I then informed the police that I had spoken to him and then they tried to get me done again, on discipline, for gross misconduct, for talking to a politician. And luckily that got overturned because it was a vicious attack, you know. He then said: `Right, we will implement an independent inquiry into what`s happened to you, and to what`s happening all told.` Because I said there was an algorithm of bullying."
"Sorry to interject. Did he acknowledge the extent of the child abuse which is at the heart of it? ... You obviously told him what you had discovered. Did he actually register that there was this..."
"Well I told him.... I said this is massive. I said the tentacles of this go right to the heart of the establishment and this is causing the detriment to the whole of society. And it`s probably even influencing politics. And I said I`ve got evidence of that and I explained to him about the thing with Leon Brittan... and all the time it was coming out in the press that this man is innocent and everything else. But Bernard Hogan Howe, the commissioner of the Met police, turned round and refused to apologise to Lady Brittan. So I`m thinking, well maybe he knows something that I don`t know. So Mike Penning then stopped all contact with me. I was assured by his wife, he`ll ring me... And I couldn`t get a hold of him at all. So the police then..."
"I just want to say: `This is the man whose sole responsibility is policing. And you are telling him of the cover up of major crime involving children, young girls, and what he does is completely cuts you off`..."
"He said: `What concerns me most about this is the public perception when this gets out. And that`s all he was worried about, you know, how it will look on the establishment when this goes out. But at the end of the day I told him... things might have changed. But as far as I`m aware he did nothing. He might surprise me yet. I`m not sure, but I`ve asked repeatedly for the investigation team to get in touch me, and they haven`t. And .. absolute nonsense, you know ... And then he said to me: `I`ll give you my assurances that Bernard Hogan Howe who is a friend of mine will be shocked when he finds out.` Well I said: `Are you going to tell him?` And he said: `I will tell him. He will be told.` And as far as I`m aware he never told him ... And also I found out that my allegations that were now sort of being ignored, the police investigation of data protection, had gone from management action, minor misconduct...to gross misconduct. Now they`ve sent the file to the CPS ...Well I thought, I`ve had enough of this. This is outrageous ... I got hold of the Commissioner and I said to the Commissioner; I wrote to him..."
"This is Sir Bernard Hogan Howe."
"I said: `The man that I`ve made serious allegations against, which there is witnesses to this, has been promoted. Not only has he been promoted, he`s been promoted with Royal Assent and given the Queen`s police medal, two years after I made allegations. Now the format is, if you`re under investigation for serious allegations, you do not get promoted. Your career`s on hold until it`s sorted out. And I wanted to get out of the police but they would not let me resign because I was placed under investigation. So I couldn`t do anything. I said: `You`ve hounded me. You`ve destroyed me. You`ve ruined me. Yet I`ve done nothing wrong. Now you want to prosecute me. I tell you what. You put me before a court and I will tell the world because it will be public domain. This is a vicious cover-up of a whistleblower... And I told him everything, Bernard Hogan Howe. Put everything in a letter."
"But all of a sudden, everything changed. All of a sudden the senior management, the assistant commissioners, they`re behind me; they`re no longer prosecuting me; they`re trying to forward my early retirement and everything else. ... But other things they did was that they halved my pay without even telling me. They cut my pay in half. This is all the things that I was told would happen."
"Right John, you were saying there that they`re moving you towards early retirement which obviously is of some comfort to you because you still have to live. And you`re entitled to a pension and everything from your time serving in the police What have they actually done to start to investigate the key thing of the massive cover-up of the abuse of children?"
"It was quite funny because in 2012, I was in Scotland Yard and the witness I had in the room at the time when the senior officer bullied me, saw me in Scotland Yard.. She came up to me and she burst into tears. She grabbed me and said: `I`ve got a powerful job now. I`ve got my own office... I need to talk to you. Can you come and see me?` `Yeah, I`ll come, I`ll come.` I went to her office and she burst into tears, grabbed hold of me and hugged me and said: `Can you ever forgive me for what happened?` `So what are you on about?` She said: `I watched them bully you and destroy you and everything you said happened. That little girl died. I know about that.` She said: `And since you did what you did, they never investigated another case of child prostitution and that was 2004, 2005. ...And they never investigated another case.` Nearly ten years of all those serious, serious crimes. I mean you`re talking raping of children. Just short of murder really. And seriously they never investigated another ... I mean they even had a transgender crime unit. And transgender crime, it equates with about point zero zero of one percent of all ... but child prostitution....? Nothing. And she said: `Everything you said was right. I left the unit because of how they treated you. Please, please forgive me.` So they never never touched it after that."
"John, you are still in a delicate situation with the police. So I`ll say we`ll just end that bit there on your relationship and how things are going, leaving the police. Just to finish... what is your opinion of what you`ve uncovered? What is going on?"
"I was asked this when I was interviewed as a witness. And they said: `Why do you think they did this?` And I said: `Well, because they`re involved. There is a cover-up and these people are appointed into these key positions. They have total governance of all these allegations. So they can`t be dealt with by any other unit... It`s like a filter. And then internally in this unit they will be filtered again; what gets proceeded and what doesn`t ... So these people are put in place to make sure these allegations don`t get out. And it`s not just that. All the years that I worked in this remit we would get what we call referrals. Referrals could come from schools. Referrals could come from playgroups, from wherever. And all the years I worked on child abuse investigations, I was aware of only once a referral coming through from NSPCC, only once. Now bear in mind they`ve got ChildLine and those kids that will be ringing ChildLine ... Why didn`t they ever come through?... And these people are filtered. And my opinion ... at least, they were deliberately put in there to protect those who are involved."
"John, thank you very much for having the courage to come and talk us through that. And I`m very very sure that now the people that listen in to this interview will not only be shocked at what you`ve said but they will also be putting together information in their minds because of course you`ve taken us through those experiences and what have we seen? We`ve seen more and more of this coming up to the surface in the public press and media; all then dismissed and it`s all suppressed. It drifts away into the long grass. And you are one, we know of a number of officers to have had the courage to stand up and say `No this is real; this is going on;` and you`ve paid a pretty heavy price for it. So I`m going to say I think this will really get people thinking. And thank you very much for having the courage to talk."
"That`s quite alright. I mean all I will say is they`ve come forward but they`ve always got retired before they`re named."
"Retired before they`re named. What a statement for John to come forward with, that police officers who dare to stand up and expose the cover-up of child abuse are bullied, harassed and retired. Against the background of child abuse which we have seen across the country: whether it`s Hollie Greig in Scotland; whether it`s Rotherham; whether it`s Melanie Shaw with the Beechwood Nottingham abuse; Mickey Summers another name there. Across the country we are seeing time and time again child abuse survivors coming forward and telling their story. And now with the help of John we can really get to understand that the people covering up this abuse are people in the highest echelons of society. They are the Members of Parliament; they`re the Lords; they`re the senior police officers; they are the establishment figures. And as we have heard worst of all perhaps they are some of the very charities that say they are there to protect children. One current case that proves the background to all of the things that John Wedger has been talking about must be the Brian and Janice Docherty case. You can listen to the interviews with this Mum and Dad on UK Column website. This is the story of parents whose only crime was - if you can call it that - is to report that a man tried to buy their son for sex. And when they report that incident to the police in Scotland they become the criminals. They become hunted by social services and ultimately they are the parents who have four children taken from them by armed Garda police in Ireland."
"There can only be one explanation for how that was possible and that is that there is, as John said, a conspiracy at the highest level to protect those who are abusing children and in particular to protect those at the highest levels of society."
See also: http://www.ukcolumn.org/ukcolumn-news/uk-column-news-27th-july-2016 where child abuse is placed in a larger context.