Child Abuse Cover-Up Allegations Over Top Policeman Who Quit

The chief constable who resigned amid allegations of financial wrongdoing and misuse of police equipment was also being investigated in connection with his force’s dismissal of child abuse claims against a judge, The Times can disclose.

{mosimage}Terence Grange, who resigned from the Dyfed-Powys Police on Monday, had been accused by the judge’s ex-wife of allowing his professional relationship with the judge to influence the force’s treatment of the claims.

He left his post days after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched separate investigations into potentially criminal financial irregularities and alleged misuse of a work computer.

Members of the Dyfed-Powys Police Authority had refused to offer him their continuing support.

The Times can reveal that in August the IPCC had ordered the police authority to investigate the links between Mr Grange and the judge accused of inappropriate behaviour towards children. It follows claims made by the judge’s ex-wife that the judge had given a child a sexually transmitted disease, viewed child pornography websites and misused transcripts from child abuse cases that he had presided over.

Documents sent to the IPCC said the force had concluded that there was insufficent evidence to interview the judge and decided not to analyse his computer. The force then refused to accept a further complaint from the ex-wife that the relationship between the judge and officer, who had worked together on criminal justice issues, had biased its approach. But the IPCC ruled in August that this complaint should have been investigated.

The judge, who cannot be identified, said previously: “It is not a subject I would wish to comment upon in any circumstances.”

Mr Grange, 58, did not respond to a request by The Times’s for his reaction to the bias claims. He has not spoken publicly about the IPCC investigation.

The Dyfed-Powys Police Authority did not comment on whether this investigation into Mr Grange had been dropped, or whether the initial child abuse claims made against the judge would be reinvestigated.

The IPCC is still investigating Mr Grange over potentially criminal alleged financial wrongdoings. It is now powerless to investigate the alleged misuse of a work computer because Mr Grange is no longer a serving officer.

On Tuesday the police authority revealed that Mr Grange had been accused of sending “private e-mails concerning a personal relationship”.

The authority held an emergency meeting behind closed doors on Thursday to discuss Mr Grange’s retirement. It is under fire from critics who claim that the police chief has been “let off the hook” by being allowed to leave.

Helen Mary Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, said yesterday that many serving officers felt that no other force member would have been allowed to walk away from such allegations. In response, the authority released a statement after Thursday’s meeting defending its actions.

It said: “The emergency committee considered that there were issues in front of them that raised questions about Mr Grange’s judgment and it was important to maintain confidence within the authority, force and our communities. It therefore decided that it was in the public interest that his offer to retire should be accepted with immediate effect.”

Mr Grange was spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers on child protection issues and caused controversy last year when he asked whether it was appropriate for young men who had sex with 15-year-old girls to be described as paedophiles.

He became Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police in 2000, where he has presided over improvements in police performance and a reduction in crime. This year he was given a two-year extension to his contract.

When Mr Grange announced his retirement, Tony McNulty, the Home Office Minister, said that he should be congratulated for having “made a significant contribution to policing in Wales”.

The IPCC said: “Once he left the police force we no longer had any power to investigate him for computer misuse. But the allegations of financial irregularities are different because, potentially, they could be criminal.”

Mr Grange has been replaced by Acting Deputy Chief Constable Andy Edwards.

Life in uniform

— Joined the Army at 15, serving with the Parachute Regiment

— Joined the Metropolitan Police in 1971 and came third out of 1,100 candidates in his promotion exams

— He has a masters degree in public services

— Chosen for accelerated training on special course for sergeants at the Police Staff College, Bramshill

— In 1988 he transferred to Avon and Somerset Constabulary as a superintendent

— In 1994 he was made Assistant Chief Constable

— On March 17, 2000, he was appointed Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police

— He is married with three adult daughters