Watchdog to investigate South Wales Police over Ian Watkins case

South Wales Argus: Watchdog to investigate South Wales Police over Ian Watkins case Watchdog to investigate South Wales Police over Ian Watkins case

THE police watchdog is investigating South Wales Police over their handling of allegations that Ian Watkins, the lead singer of the band Lostprophets, was abusing children. They say they want to know if the convicted paedophile could have been “brought to justice sooner.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said South Yorkshire and Bedfordshire Police forces are also being investigated in connection with their handling of the case.

The IPCC is investigating the effectiveness of their response to reports of abuse made to them between 2008 and 2012.

In January 2013, the IPCC began an independent investigation into South Wales Police to establish whether or not the force failed to take appropriate and timely actions over information that they received prior to Ian Watkins’ arrest in November 2012. This followed an internal review by South Wales Police.

The IPCC is considering reports made to South Wales Police dating back to October 2008 and whether the enquiries conducted from this date onwards were appropriate under the circumstances.

They said a “significant part” of the investigation is focused on the actions of one officer, a detective sergeant, who is also being investigated in a separate case where it is alleged he failed to act on an allegation that a 15-year-old girl had been raped. The officer has been served with gross misconduct notices advising him that his conduct is subject to investigation.

While that officer’s conduct forms a large part of the investigation into South Wales Police, the IPCC is considering the organisational response to the information held on Watkins and as further lines of enquiry are completed it is possible that other notices may be served.

At this stage, a spokesman said the IPCC is aware of a number of reports made to the force from either members of the public, Crimestoppers or other police forces prior to Mr Watkins’ arrest in late 2012. A number of these reports originated from the same complainant.

IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams said: "As the criminal proceedings have now ended, questions are now rightly being asked as to whether Ian Watkins could have been brought to justice sooner, what steps were taken by police in response to allegations made against him as far back as 2008 and whether his celebrity status had any impact on the investigation.

"That is exactly what the IPCC is seeking to establish.”

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