Northamptonshire Police close investigation into Cyril Smith allegations after ‘no witnesses’ found

File photo dated 01/05/91 of the late Sir Cyril Smith a
File photo dated 01/05/91 of the late Sir Cyril Smith a

An investigation into claims former MP Cyril Smith was released from custody despite images of child abuse being found in his car in the early 1980s has been closed by Northamptonshire Police.

In a statement released today after an article by BBC reporter Sally Chidzoy, the force said a cold case team assigned to look into the claims about Smith, who died in 2010, had interviewed more than 60 police staff, including the two Chief Constables in post during the period under investigation.

The investigation was started after Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk claimed in his book that material was allegedly discovered in the back of Smith’s car when he was stopped on the M1 in Northamptonshire more than 30 years ago.

He went on to claim the MP was released from police custody after making a call to an unidentified third party in London.

Several members of the public have been interviewed about the allegations as well as Mr Danczuk himself and another journalist, Don Hale, who has written about Mr Smith.

The Crown Prosecution Service has also searched Northamptonshire Police’s archives for relevant information and Special Branch have undertaken a manual trawl of the archives.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “Northamptonshire Police has now carried out a transparent, professional and proportionate investigation to establish if the alleged events happened and whether any senior influence was exerted or details were hidden over the decisions made.

“To date, no witness has been found who saw Smith in custody or was involved in his arrest and no reports of the alleged incident have been uncovered.

“Furthermore, no witnesses have been found from Special Branch or any other senior influence, while a primary witness – a canteen worker mentioned in the book – cannot be identified.”

Assistant Chief Constable Ivan Balhatchet, who has overseen the investigation for the Force, said: “Despite speaking to a number of people, a confirmed recollection of these alleged events cannot be ascertained.

“We need to reassure the public we have invested in this investigation and that we are taking the allegations seriously.

“We’d invite anyone who has information to come forward. While the inquiry is now closed, new information will be carefully reviewed if and when it comes through.”