Sunday 23rd June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

MI5, Special Branch, Prominent Paedophiles Cover-up and Peter Jaconelli

November 4, 2014 Police

MI5, Special Branch, Prominent Paedophiles Cover-up and Peter Jaconelli

  • Crime and Parliamentary Affairs correspondent TIM HICKS comments on the involvement of MI5, MI6 and Special Branch in protecting paedophiles and possible involvement in the Peter Jaconelli scandal, along with the latest developments in the Home Office investigation into child sexual abuse.


On August the 7th 2014, the North Yorks Enquirer published an article on how MI5 and Special Branch for years protected the paedophile and rapist Sir Cyril Smith from arrest, because of his position as a senior parliamentarian. Full story here and an excellent Daily Mail article here.

Recently, in a related development, the Express has run a story that a former civil servant has given evidence that the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch orchestrated the child-sex lobbying group Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) in the late 1970s:

It is alleged that PIE was being funded by the Home Office (which is responsible for MI5) at the request of Special Branch which found it politically useful to identify people who were paedophiles. The former civil servant is quoted as saying that he “formed the belief that it was part of an undercover operation or activity. I was aware a lot of people in the civil service or political arena had an interest in obtaining information like that which could be used as a sort of blackmail.”

In this context, agent handlers are all taught the acronym MICE to cover the methods that can be used to convince someone to turn agent or informant.  It stands for:

  • Money: Bribery.
  • Ideology:  A person motivated to help an intelligence service because he is sympathetic to its aims or the country it represents.
  • Coercion:  Blackmail or a honey trap, being a commonly resorted to method of turning a person of interest to MI5 into an informer (the classic case being John Vassall), exerting influence over them, coercing them into betraying information. It can also be used to damage or neutralise a person of interest.  Alternatively false information of a similar nature (disinformation) can be disseminated for the same purpose.  (See the alleged example of an MI5 disinformation operation with Lord Brittan below).
  • Ego: Flattering an inadequate personality to obtain cooperation.

Hence the interest in the gathering evidence of sexual misconduct by intelligence organisations such as MI5.

The role of MI5 and Special Branch from the 1960’s onwards

Special Branch is a label customarily used to identify police units responsible for matters of national security.  First formed in 1883 as the Special Irish Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police to counter the Irish Republican Brotherhood (a forerunner of the IRA). The Irish element was dropped shortly afterwards as the unit evolved to oppose a wider range of threats.

Special Branch was organised into (1) a Ports Branch, and (2) an Operations Branch, staffed by Special Branch Officers recruited from officers from each Force area, nominally under the control of the Chief Constable, but actually operating autonomously under the control of Special Branch Headquarters in London.

Each British police force went on to form its own Special Branch and most or all UK Police Services still maintain a Special Branch unit. In North Yorkshire Police it is called “Ports Unit” and a very good description of its duties can be obtained from the excellent North Yorkshire Police website for Ports Unit.  Although innocuously titled “Ports Unit”, it is in fact Special Branch, as shown by their  email address which is Special Branch.

MI5 does not have powers to arrest or execute a search warrant. Therefore, the Operations Branch of Special Branch as well as developing intelligence and conducting its own investigations, acted as the executive arm of MI5, making the arrests and conducting searches, as directed by MI5. This was particularly emphasized in the county forces Special Branch units, because in those days MI5 had no presence outside London. Hence the involvement of Special Branch in protecting Cyril Smith from arrest in Rochdale, detailed above which was certainly at the direction of MI5.

In London Special Branch (SO12) had responsibility for, amongst other things, personal protection of (non-royal) VIPs and performing the role of examining officer at designated ports and airports.  The investigative wing of the Special Branch known as X squad became the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch (SO13) in 1972.  In the Metropolitan Police (which had national responsibilities at the time) it was grouped under the Assistant Commissioner Security, along with the Palace of Westminster Division SO17 (now CO7) (responsible for security of MPs), the Special Branch protection officers (now Specialist Protection Branch SO1) responsible for providing specialist protection (for the current and former Prime Ministers, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Secretary of State for Defence and others) and the Royalty Protection Branch SO14.  All of these squads liaised closely.


Other examples of protection of high-level paedophiles 

This was not the only example of criminals being protected because they were embarrassing to prominent politicians.

In 1964, the Metropolitan Police were ready to arrest Lord Boothby for paedophilism with youths provided by the notorious London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. He and Tom Driberg, a future Labour Party Chairman were intimate with the Krays and one of their gang Leslie Holt a cat burglar and prostitute who was later murdered by them.

However, their political connections (Boothby was a senior Conservative and the lover of the Prime Minister’s wife; Driberg was a future Chairman of the Labour Party) meant that neither the Conservatives nor the Labour Party wanted Driberg and Boothby exposed, so the Police backed off. This would undoubtedly have involved Special Branch, being the Branch of the British Police responsible for protecting the Prime Minister and prominent politicians.

As a result the Krays were free to carry on their reign of terror until they were jailed for life in 1969, having committed a number of murders and terrorised the East End for a further five years.  Full NYE report here

The notorious Kincora boys home in East Belfast, where dozens of children were abused, has long been alleged to have been used by MI5 to obtain material on people in high places, to use to manipulate them during the troubles. Excellent article by the Belfast Telegraph here. William McGrath, the housemaster of Kincora Boys’ Home was later jailed for abusing youngsters in his care. One of the MI5 case officers was subsequently charged with an offence against a young boy.

Interestingly, it is alleged that Baroness Butler-Schloss’s (see below) brother Sir Michael Havers is alleged to have limited an investigation into Kincora (story here) and also alleged to have participated in the decision not to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman (see below).


Derbyshire Constabulary Chief Constable Mick Creedon has recently revealed that when he was serving as a Detective Sergeant in Leicestershire, he was forbidden from arresting Labour MP Greville Janner (now Lord Janner) or searching his home, despite ‘credible evidence’ that warranted further investigation. This was a line of enquiry during the investigation into Frank Beck, the manager of Leicester children’s homes, who was convicted of abusing boys in his care.  Daily Mail coverage here.

Leicestershire Police recently raided the office of Labour peer Greville Janner as part of a probe into historical child sex abuse allegations. According to Labour MP and anti-paedophile campaigner Simon Danczuk, the word went around Parliament that this must not be discussed 

Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross of North Yorkshire Police conducted an investigation into the Jaconelli and Savile paedophile ring in Scarborough, in which she denied North Yorkshrie Police had any intelligence on Savile or Jaconelli. Subsequently Chief Constable Dave Jones had to admit that intelligence did exist and called in the IPCC.  NYE investigation here.

Today’s Daily Mirror has revealed that the Metropolitan Police are investigating allegations of a high level paedophile ring involving MPs based at Dolphin Square.  Full story here.

MI5 and Special Branch protection of Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli? 

Savile operated openly in Scarborough and Whitby with Peter Jaconelli the Mayor.  Peter Jaconelli was a school governor and is known to have enticed school children into prostitution and to have procured for Savile.  They were known openly to cruise over to Whitby in Savile’s pink Rolls Royce in the early 1970’s and to pick up youths of both sexes from the burger bar in full view of Whitby Police Station, then take them away to be abused and paid off.


It has been alleged to the NYE that the wider ring was smuggling paedophile images out of Yorkshire to the Netherlands, for onward sale in the Dutch sex industry. If this is so, it would be an offence falling within the remit of Special Branch.

It is obvious that they were completely protected by Scarborough and Whitby Police.  The BBC Investigation brought this out perfectly.

The NYE team has until now always assumed that this was because of Jaconelli’s status as Mayor. However, following the recent revelations about MI5 protection of paedophiles, we are now questioning this.

Could it be that Savile (or another high level paedophile in the Scarborough ring as yet unknown) was also protected by MI5 and that far from Jaconelli’s status protecting Savile, it was the other way around?

Because of his close association with Royalty and prominent politicians, Jimmy Savile will have come to the attention of SO17 and SO14, which all operated together under the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner for Security.  Savile was certainly known to the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit which had recorded information connecting him to a location in South London used by criminals to commit sexual offences against children and to force them into prostitution.

Both Cyril Smith and Savile would have been the subject of some form of vetting when they received awards.  Savile received the OBE in 1971 at the height of his offending with Jaconelli and was knighted in 1990. Savile would surely have been vetted because of his connections to the Royal family and prominent politicians including the Prime Minister. Savile’s close connections and direct access to senior politicians would also have made him a person of interest to MI5.  It is inconceivable that MI5 would not have vetted him, or taken a close interest in him and the people he associated with.  As part of any vetting process the local police in Scarborough would have been approached, probably via Special Branch.

It was well known that Jaconelli was a paedophile and associated with Savile. Is it possible that North Yorkshire Police were ordered to back off Savile and his associates by MI5 to avoid embarrassment to his high level contacts, in the same way as Lancashire Police were told to leave Cyril Smith alone? Is this why the North Yorks Enquirer journalist covering the Savile and Jaconelli story has been threatened with arrest by North Yorkshire Police?

In 1981, following exposure by Private Eye, Yorkshire MP the late Mr Geoffrey Dickens used Parliamentary privilege to name Sir Peter Hayman the deputy director of MI6, as a paedophile. Hayman was a known paedophile the discovery of indecent images of children in his possession 1978. He was also a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which was funded by Special Branch. He was not prosecuted over either matter.  Clearly an example of a high level paedophile being protected.

In 1983 when Lord Brittan was Home Secretary, Mr Dickens gave the Home Office a dossier of what he claimed was evidence of a high level paedophile network. The Home Office now says the dossier no longer exists.

Mr Dickens was closely associated with Yorkshire and would have known of Peter Jaconelli through his knowledge of the Conservative Party regional grouping, the Yorkshire and Humberside Conservative Association, and from Jaconelli’s activities and reputation locally as a leading Yorkshire Conservative and North Yorkshire County Councillor. So common was knowledge of Jaconelli’s  offending that it is inconceivable that he would not have known of the allegations about Jaconelli and his associates. It is entirely credible that Jaconelli was one of the prominent persons mentioned in the dossier that Mr Dickens passed to the Home Office.  It is also possible that the dossier had information on Jimmy Savile.

Yet as with complaints about Savile and Jaconelli to North Yorkshire Police, the information provided by Mr Dickens was not acted upon, was ignored by the Home Office and mysteriously disappeared.

Mr Dickens also complained about being the subject of threats following his denouncement of Hayman.

The allegations about Lord Brittan

Lord Brittan became the MP for Whitby in 1974.  He was obviously going to be a high-flyer and was a potential minister. He was knighted in 1989 and created Baron Brittan of Spennithorne in 2000 and represented the constituency until 1983. He was appointed a Queen’s Council in 1978 and then represented Richmond until 1988.

It seems certain that he would have known Peter Jaconelli, who was a prominent Conservative and very well known in the area, during his service as Whitby’s MP. He may even have known of the rumours concerning Peter Jaconelli and his assoiciation with Savile.

According to this week‘s the Daily Mail, in 1984 rumours began to circulate of a senior Conservative figure thought to be a Cabinet Minister who was invilved in sexual offences with children.  Private Eye alleged that Lord Brittan was the unnamed senior member of the Thatcher government that was rumoured to have had sexually abused two teenage boys. One of the victims was alleged to be from the North East, which could appear to indicate Noth Yorkshire, the other victim was alleged to have been still at school.

The profile of the alleged offender is similar to that of Peter Jaconelli (a senior Conservative politician who abused children at a school in the North East), who may have been known to MI5 through the vetting process it undoubtedly conducted with North Yorkshire Police on Jimmy Savile.

Private Eye stressed that the allegations being levelled against Mr Brittan were false, had been known for some time and that after lengthy investigations, journalists had concluded that they were without substance.

Private Eye went on to allege that the spy agency MI5 had targeted Lord Brittan because of reports that he was planning a reorganisation of their operations following failures in intelligence in the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy that year. If true, this would be a classic example of an intelligence agency using disinformation to eliminate a person of interest to it.

Lord Brittan who was Home Sectary at the time denies any wrongdoing in the way the “dossier” on alleged high-profile paedophiles was handled in the 1980s. In June 2014, Lord Brittan was interviewed under caution by police in connection with the alleged rape of a 19-year-old student in his central London flat in 1967. The Crown Prosecution Service concluded that the allegations were not credible and no action has been taken.

In a statement provided to the Enquirer, issued through his solicitors, Lord Brittan forthrightly commented:

“It is true that I have been questioned by the police about a serious allegation made against me. This allegation is wholly without foundation.

“In addition I would like to put on record that I welcome the fact that there is now to be an independent review to look at the missing files belonging to the Home Office.

“It has been alleged that when I was Home Secretary I failed to deal adequately with the bundle of papers containing allegations of serious sexual impropriety that I received from the late Geoff Dickens MP. This too is completely without foundation – as evidence from the Home Office’s own report supports. As I made clear in the statement that I issued on 2 July, I passed this bundle of papers to the relevant Home Office officials for examination, as was the normal and correct practice. I wrote to Mr Dickens on 20 March 1984 informing him of the conclusions of the Director of Public Prosecutions about these matters (as set out in the Interim Report of the Independent Review set up by the Home Office).

“In this same report, Mr Dickens thanked the Home Office for the way in which the information he provided was handled and said in a speech to the House of Commons on 31 March 1987:  ‘ I should like to place on record my thanks to the Home Office and the departments within the Home Office for following up the cases that I keep sending to it. I should also like to thank the Attorney General. They have been very helpful and a strength to me in my campaigns.'” 

Latest developments in the Home Office investigation into child sexual abuse:  The Home Office enquiry in disarray 

Although there had been a series of investigations in the UK into Jimmy Savile, we have still not got to the bottom of how Jimmy Savile and his associates were able to escape arrest for nearly half a century. To resolve this, the Home Secretary recently announced two new investigations, one to be led by the Chief Executive of the NSPCC and another to be led by a prominent judge.  Initially this was to be the impressive and experienced Dame Butler-Sloss, however she was forced to resign on the basis of concerns over possible conflicts of interest arising from the actions of her brother, Sir Michael Havers.

Her replacement was the equally impressive Mrs Fiona Woolf, who is Lord Mayor of London.

Following her disclosure that she knew Lord Brittan socially and had dined with five times in the period 2008 – 11, Mrs Woolf also resigned.

It then emerged that a letter from Mrs Woolf about her links with Lord Brittan was re-written seven times with the help of the Home Office.  When asked if this undermined the perception of her impartiality, she is reported as saying: “It does look like that.” 

Full report here:

Her departure was welcomed by the Home Affairs Select Committee and also by victims groups. The founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, Peter Saunders has called for a national statutory inquiry, not just one covering England and Wales.  Statement here:

The North Yorks Enquirer supports their position, any investigation must cover the entire country, particularly with the revelations about MI5 involvement in the Kincora Boys Home, which under the current proposals will be excluded.

We are still nowhere near getting to the bottom of the Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli scandals, or indeed the way high profile paedophiles were protected from at least the 1960’s onwards. Although the Police and Crown Prosecution Service have shown themselves ready to mount a relentless campaign of high-profile prosecutions of media personalities, (many of which failed to obtain a conviction), no Police Officer, MP, Minister, Crown Prosecutor, MI5 Officer, social worker, civil servant or Councillor has had any prosecution initiated against him.

We will never know the truth unless we have a full judicial enquiry led by a completely impartial and credible person.

Special Branch and MI5 were given the opportunity to comment on this article, but did not.

Comments are closed.