The head of the National Crime Agency is under fire over the appointment as her deputy of the police chief behind the shambolic VIP child abuse inquiry.
Steve Rodhouse landed the post under Lynne Owens despite a scathing report that castigated him for Scotland Yard’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation.
The dossier by former High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques also savaged Mr Rodhouse over a parallel Met investigation into false claims of rape made against former Tory home secretary Leon Brittan.
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Steve Rodhouse (right) landed the post under Lynne Owens (left) despite a scathing report that castigated him for Scotland Yard’s disastrous Operation Midland investigation
Lynne Owens, Director General of the National Crime Agency, speaking at the talk on crime and security after Brexit
Prior to that the bungling officer oversaw a much-criticised child sex abuse inquiry by Surrey Police into Jimmy Savile.
He is being paid £245,000 a year by the NCA – more than double the £100,000 compensation that Scotland Yard paid to Lord Bramall, the war hero hounded by Mr Rodhouse and his detectives over bogus paedophile claims.
The field marshal, who was injured in the D-Day landings and went on to become head of the Armed Forces, died this week aged 95 without a single officer being held to account.
The NCA declined to say how many people applied for Mr Rodhouse’s job, how many were shortlisted and whether Mrs Owens was on the selection board.
Nor would it confirm whether she read the Henriques Report, a 2016 summary of which identified 43 major blunders by her deputy and his officers. The NCA said Mr Rodhouse was recruited on ‘merit through an open and fair competition’, that he brought a ‘wealth of talent’ to the organisation, and that his appointment received prime ministerial approval.
Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (pictured), who oversaw the early stages of Operation Midland, has previously rejected demands for a new investigation into the officers involved
Carl Beech’s easily-disproved lies were swallowed by police who have spent £4.5m on their bungled investigation and subsequent payouts
Senior Home Office sources with knowledge of the selection process said it was inconceivable that Mrs Owens, who is director general of the NCA, did not support Mr Rodhouse’s appointment. In a move that has staggered senior law enforcement figures, he is listed as a keynote speaker next week at a police chiefs’ conference on professional standards and ethics.
When Mr Rodhouse was made director general (operations) of the NCA in May last year, Mrs Owens said: ‘He brings a wealth of knowledge and practical skills that further strengthen our response to fighting serious and organised crime in the UK.’
She made no mention of the shambolic VIP child sex abuse inquiry or the Lord Brittan rape case. Mr Rodhouse worked under Mrs Owens in both the Met and Surrey forces.
Steve Rodhouse, who oversaw the operation, apologised for the catastrophic failures
Rodhouse (left) gave evidence in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee at the House of Commons on the police investigation into the late Lord Brittan. Lord Brittan was cleared. But only after his death
On his appointment, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick issued a statement praising Mr Rodhouse as a ‘great professional – hardworking, determined and a thoroughly decent and compassionate leader’.
Operation Midland blew £2.5million probing wild allegations of VIP child sex abuse and murder made by ‘Nick’, real name Carl Beech.
Since Beech was jailed for 18 years in July, Dame Cressida has rebuffed calls for five officers accused of misconduct in Operation Midland, including Mr Rodhouse, to face a new criminal investigation. An inquiry by police watchdogs has cleared them of any wrongdoing.
Beech’s allegations destroyed the reputations of Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.
At a press conference last week, Mr Proctor said of Mr Rodhouse: ‘Anyone reading the full version of the Henriques Report could have realised he was not a suitable candidate to be appointed to his present role at the National Crime Agency.’
A 2016 report was critical of former DAC Rodhouse’s (left) judgment, of his decision-making and of his professionalism, which ultimately resulted in £2.5million of public money being spent on false claims made by now convicted fantasist Carl Beech (right)
He called on Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Tom Winsor, to investigate Mr Rodhouse’s appointment at the NCA.
Daniel Janner QC, whose father Lord Janner was falsely accused by Beech, said: ‘I fully support Harvey Proctor’s call for this inquiry. It is a disturbing mystery how Rodhouse was promoted on the back of Operation Midland.’
A spokesman for the NCA said: ‘Steve Rodhouse brings a wealth of talent and experience to the role of director general (operations).
‘He was recruited on merit through an open and fair competition. The selection process applicable to senior civil service appointments at this level is led by an independent civil service commissioner who has oversight of the entire process including chairing the final panel interview.’
Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor (left) and Lord Brittan (right) were both falsely accused by fantasist Carl Beech
Harvey Proctor (pictured) has led calls for Met police chiefs to face justice after a report laid bare the scale of the failures of Scotland Yard’s investigation into a non-existent Westminster paedophile ring
‘Nick’ cop who’s followed his boss to three top jobs
When Mr Rodhouse was made Director General (Operations) of the National Crime Agency in May 2018, its boss, Director General Lynne Owens, and Met chief Dame Cressida Dick, lavished praise on him despite his disastrous handling of the VIP child sex abuse inquiry.
Mrs Owens said in a statement: ‘He bring a wealth of knowledge and practical skills that further strengthen our response to fighting serious and organised crime in the UK.’
Dame Cressida said: ‘I wish Steve all the very best in this exciting new role. He has taken on some big challenges in his time with the Met. Throughout, he has been a great professional – hardworking, determined and a thoroughly decent and compassionate leader and colleague.’
The 72-year-old (pictured oustside Newcastle Crown Court) revealed he is still under ‘substantial emotional stress’ from a ‘matter that has been going on for years’ – after Carl Beech claimed he was directly involved in two murders and multiple counts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s