The ‘Independent’ Review Into Operation Vincente


We do not have the full report only Appendix A, which includes an edited version of the Key observations and Conclusions, which can be found HERE

The report concludes that the investigation into the allegations were justified. However, I’m unaware that anyone has suggested otherwise. A very serious allegation had been made and it was absolutely correct that it should be investigated and it was.

The report states that the first statement taken by South Yorkshire Police was of “poor standard” and that the second statement taken by the Metropolitan Police “lacked sufficient probing”. There is no reference made of any third statement to correct these shortcomings.

The report describes the conclusion of DCI Paul Settle (SIO) that the offence had not been made out due to issues of consent as “erroneous”.


No mention is made in the “Key Observations and Conclusions” of the reviewer’s opinion of the CPS’s independent assessment at the time which concurred with DCI Settle’s conclusion or the subsequent opinion expressed by the DPP Alison Saunders who told the Home Affairs Select Committee on the 21/10/2015:

“From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]”

As the reviewer has not referred to this we have no way of knowing whether he believes that the CPS and DPP took an ‘erroneous’ view.

All we can say is that following his independent review, he came, all be it grudgingly, to exactly the same conclusion as DCI Settle, the CPS and the DPP Alison Saunders.


Internal police politics – Who’d want to swim in that sewer?


Filed under Abuse, HASC, News

13 responses to “The ‘Independent’ Review Into Operation Vincente

  1. Roger Gough

    “The SIO was, by his own admission, inexperienced in rape investigations – sought specialist assistance and Early Investigative Advice” – then he should have been directing traffic, not investigating serious allegations of sexual assault. The guy’s been hung out to dry. He could hardly refuse to take the job on (internal Police politics) so he’s conveniently been made a whipping boy.

  2. This is a very disappointing response to the Dorset police review, and no doubt it is steered by your criticisms of Exaro. I understand your critique. But this response seems to be driven by a wish to vindicate DCI Paul Settle and the early police gut instinct that there was ‘nothing in it’.
    It was when we heard Settle’s views on consent – his view that a woman consented by walking through the door of a house, at the invitation of man on a date who she had no reason to suspect of any malign intent – that many of us will have gasped.
    The point of an investigation is to investigate. The interview is not the beginning and end of the investigation.
    That an inexperienced detective’s instinct produced the decisions by the CPS etc only confirms that the response to the rape allegation was hopeless.
    The apparent carelessness of the whole process, documented by the Dorset police review, might make a cynic think that running a haphazard, reckless investigation would ensure that the inquiry into Brittan would go nowhere.
    What Needleblog – such a good site – thinks about Exaro is, in this case, irrelevant. Can this needle between Needleblog and Exaro be sorted please.

    • Hi Beatrix, good to hear from you.

      I watched your appearance on ‘This Week’ and I thought you were very good.

      Ultimately, DCI Settle’s views on consent – and I’m unaware that he has expressed them as you’ve described but please correct me if I’m wrong – are fairly irrelevant. As I’ve pointed out here, His conclusion was made following the CPS’ Early Investigative Advice, was supported by the DPP, and eventually by the report itself.

      As for my view on Exaro, I doubt there can be any accommodation. Their journalism isn’t just shoddy it is dangerous and has created the current difficult situation. Right now, they have stories on their website from two self confessed liars, and a further story sourced from a man that has been involved in Spanish Property fraud. Furthermore, I have evidence that their journalists have been passing lies and smears, including about myself, to internet trolls.

      Eventually, long time campaigners like yourself are going to have to start looking hard at what Exaro have been up to over the last 2 years because the consequences are alarming.

      • Thanks for this: I am a committed reader of your blogs. I too am alarmed by some Exaro behaviour.
        But ‘Jane’ has been traduced horribly in the past. The Dorset review finds her ‘compelling’; it has criticised Settle’s view of consent, and the inept conduct of the Brittan allegation.
        I would hope that Gojam and Needleblog would respect that.

      • Let me say that to my mind this is not an issue over whether a rape took place or even whether LB was responsible. Settle passed it over to the CPS for early investigative review who concluded that lack of consent could not be made out. Only Jane can know what actually happened and the man involved. Ultimately this review (actually edited version of Appendix A) concluded that Jane herself was compelling but not that the case for lack of consent was compelling – far from it.

        I know because I watched, that on This Week some quite derogatory things were said about Jane by Andrew Neil.

        What I find inexplicable is that how it is that the public case for robust investigations into rape and CSA have been diverted into a debate about false witnesses?

        I know that your own investigations into CSA and campaigning over many decades demonstrate your integrity and understanding of the difficult and complex issues involved. Nevertheless, we’ve got to ask ourselves how it is that you find yourself trying to argue the case for thorough investigations into VIP CSA and that is now easily deflected by prominent stories about false allegations – an argument that should be simple to make and understand becomes confused.

        Beatrix, I am sincere about my own horror at these crimes, including when perpetrated by VIPs including Janner, Smith, and Morrison – to name but 3. However, I feel that if I do not exercise the same commitment to rooting out the false allegations as I do the genuine, then I’ll not be taken seriously on either.

        As most of the false allegations have the same genesis, it would be remiss of me not address that.

      • dpack

        know them by their works is one approach to this and another is to look at the bone fides of the key players.

        using both together it is difficult to conclude exaro as an organisation are actively and effectively seeking to expose truth.
        if one considers cui bono and bone fides,as one should,whilst examining the possible reasons for their consistent failures to expose truth and the confusions their output has promoted it seems very plausible that this was deliberate.

        yet again i refer folk to “the art of deception for the new age” to demonstrate that these observations are consistent with a strategy of smoke and mirrors.

        incompetence and over enthusiasm do not explain the lack of corrections,consistent lack of accurately cross referencing data ,consistent misdirection from valid data and interpretation of that data towards invalid data and misinterpretations.

        if they had proved to be good at it i would never have noticed inconsistencies a couple of years ago and had a deepish dig as to the possible reasons for them.
        as i have mentioned before it is plausible that one of the potential end game outcomes was that it was intended that “the leading investigative journalism” on matters of organised csa was going to be seen as flawed therefore discrediting all investigations of these ugly matters.

        it seems pointless to argue with the”faithful” but you cant fool all of the people all of the time and to see this nasty episode for what it is might well be a useful step in the struggle to expose the truth.

        i recon those of us with grave doughts as to the ethics and output of exaro have shown due diligence and used thorough forensic analysis regarding the up front and backroom data available before reaching some very plausible conclusions.

        there are other players among those who would hide or distract from truth (or just simply lie or are deluded), there are both overt and covert ones and they collectively exhibit a wide range of plausible motivations,some of these people have been exposed for what they are some are still within the smoke and mirrors they have created .
        there are also victims and witnesses who have been exploited by the truly evil in the more subtle versions of creating illusions.

        to finish on a positive theme there are folk who seek to expose the truth,each in their own way, they have done so and will continue to do so and each bit of truth exposed adds into the whole truth.
        perhaps in some instances only they know who they are and why they do what they do for their own and others safety ,in other cases they are “doing the right thing” at least partially in public because they can.
        imho the truth will prevail eventually.

      • Aardvark

        It is obvious that false allegations hyped up by the media, have the potentiality of being used to undermine genuine CSA allegations and are inevitably damaging to the future protection of Children. It is a horribly cynical thing to imagine that an apparently benign set of individuals or organisation could be set up for the purpose of undermining genuine CSA allegations, but there is a lot at stake and a history as long as ones arms and many others, of establishment cover ups and denials about what has been going on in British institutions.

        It is important that investigations are allowed to be thorough and are completed, without interference, but there has been a desperate attempt to close down the Midlands investigation from the start. Professionalism at this level of investigation, would have to be of the highest order, because of the high profile of the case, it is therefor, extremely difficult to imagine that experienced Journalists, or Policemen, or any other professional related to the case, would be making any shoddy decisions, it would be way too convenient, when so much is at stake!

        There is no secret now, with Saville, Smith, Janner, Morrison, Bishop Ball, etc etc, that cover up, after cover up has been made by the Establishment. It is evident Inquiries in general, have been set up, like the BBC Smith inquiry, to minimize the impact of the original abuses and all the subsequent cover ups. It would be naive to think that the establishment would now come clean and admit every corrupt and vile goings on that have happened and they would fear our revolt, so we are being drip fed controlled pieces of information, if that wasn’t true they would release all the top secret Government files and we would do away with our draconian libel laws and we would all be genuinely equal under the law!

        Exaro could well be smoke and mirrors, particularly as the negative fall out they and Panorama and the rest of the media have conjured, which has been extremely undermining, now why would they do that? The positive side to their high level of exposure, is a raising of awareness of the wider issues of CSA. The recent debate on whether there have been cover ups was enlightening and Robert Montagu and Meirion Jones’ views on Mandatory reporting and on our deferential Culture and on libel laws was positive. The more We can discuss these issues, that were once taboo, the more imperative will be our need to make the changes to our legal system, then Children will be far better protected than they have been. It is interesting that a slime ball like Saville (who reporters like Paul Connew, knew about, but was unable to report on, because of our libel laws!), could have woken us all up, to the nightmare that generations of Children have been living, in plain sight!

  3. Pingback: The ‘Independent’ Review Into Operation Vicente | Alternative News Network

  4. jsc

    If we accept the proposition that Exaro were deliberately promoting a series of false allegations by Nick and Darren, then we are accepting that Exaro journalists – or at least those who hypothetically knew the allegations to be false – were wilfully behaving in a manner that would result in their professional reputations being destroyed. Worse, it could result in them facing a police investigation. Why would they embark on such a self-destructive course of action? Financial gain from some shadowy string-pullers, in exchange for their names being mud in their profession? It seems implausible.

    Like most in their industry the Exaro journalists are faced with constant job insecurity, perhaps financial insecurity too. Perhaps hope triumphed over common sense (and professional judgement) in their conclusion that Nick and Darren were telling the truth. Some of them may have imagined a Woodward and Bernstein-esque moment of professional glory (and profitable book deals, and the Hollywood adaptation..) would result from all this. Exaro are human, and humans can be susceptible to believing that what they want to believe is true, is so.

    As unbelievable as Nick and Darren’s stories now seem to everyone, in the aftermath of Savile, the police were probably understandably overanxious to avoid any future allegations of cover-ups. Exaro hardly helped matters in that regard, promoting their site and their brand by pushing the Midland story week after week,when they should have exercised restraint in respect of an ongoing police investigation.

  5. interested lawyer

    interesting thread this as it contains some pertinent points. but as bea has explained the biggest thing that this thread reveals is that the clear anti-exaro bias has now swung too far. to use panoramas “pendulum” analogy.

    ive been watching these investigations unfold over the past few years, on this site, other blogs, exaro and in the msm. id say that all of you have done some excellent work, some average work and some terrible work. including this site gojam. quite how this site relied on chris fay’s speculative notetaking for as long as it did was a wonder and it forced needle to remove wholesale volumes of material from this blog due to its inaccuracies. you have published as much inaccurate material as exaro although you have removed much of it. for which you should be praised. the msm is just as bad too.

    but to stick to this piece it seems as though tom watson mp and exaro got the jane case right. you might do well to acknowledge that as you have in the past described it as an attack on the original sio who has now been heavily criticised by the dorset review as well as by his bosses at the met.

    my reading of exaros coverage of janes case is that they and tom watson mp challenged the view that the case should be closed quickly and without interviewing the suspect. they at no point said he was guilty. i heard one exaro journalist describe it as making sure not only that justice was done but also seen to be done. in this particular case they knew the investigative guidance better than the sio and they raised a concern. it happens and it is surely the duty of public interest journalism to raise concerns. in the meantime the alleged victim was maligned on the internet and in the msm. the dorset review and the volume of material inside the met now shows that exaro were correct. you can blame the sio or the cps or whoever you like. but it now looks like exaro and watson got it right.

    perhaps you should acknowledge that otherwise your understandable wariness about other exaro material will just look like an agenda in its own right rather than a search for truth.

    surely the truth in all these matters is what people want?

  6. I do not believe that the release of the edited extracts of Appendix A from the Dorset Police review to the HASC will be the last word on this.

    You appear to have omitted the striking fact that the decision of the SIO was taken following Early Investigative Advice from the CPS and that the DPP fully supported the view taken. Ultimately the prolonged investigation came to exactly the same conclusion on exactly the same point as the CPS and the SIO.

    I have no issue with what either Exaro or Tom Watson have done in this case because when push comes to shove the Met should have had the courage to just ignored the media pressure instead we saw the knee jerk reaction of an MPS more concerned with positive press coverage than with making the correct decision.

    This report was never meant to be a vindication of Exaro – it was crafted as a vindication of the poor decision making by the MPS management.

    My own view is that this issue will be revisited in a wider context.

    “surely the truth in all these matters is what people want?”

    Just out of curiosity, what area of law do you practice ?

  7. Roger Gough

    Some people are either deliberately misleading readers or they haven’t done their homework on antecedents. BUFFS.