A paedophile doctor was allowed to continue sexually abusing child cancer patients for 16 months because of police failings, a watchdog has ruled.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) have been slammed for failing to stop Myles Bradbury’s campaign of sexual abuse.
Bradbury, 42, formerly of Herringswell, who targeted 18 child cancer patients between 2009 and 2013 while he was working at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge was jailed for 22 years last December.
It has since emerged that the CEOP was first alerted to Bradbury and 2,000 other suspected paedophiles by Canadian police in July 2012.
However this was ignored and only came to light when the National Crime Agency took over running the CEOP in November 2013.
Bradbury was arrested a month later. His home was later searched where police also found 16,000 indecent images of children.
The police’s watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), published its inquiry into the investigation this week.
It raised issues over the conduct of four officers who worked for the CEOP as part of its investigation.
The CEOP was formed in 2006 to work nationally and internationally to bring those suspected of committing online offences against children before the courts.
One of its primary functions was to develop the information it receives into intelligence which can be passed for appropriate action to be taken.
It clearly failed to do this in the case of Bradbury, the IPCC concluded.
IPCC commissioner Carl Gumsley said: “The IPCC investigation produced evidence to show that the intelligence provided by the Canadian authorities was poorly handled by the CEOP Centre.
“The NCA had already identified this fact and had commissioned two internal reviews which had already made a number of recommendations that were accepted by the Agency and CEOP, to improve its processes.
“This, at least, is something positive to come out of this matter.”
CEOP was alerted by Toronto Police in 2012 when it provided it with information of a large number of customers, including Bradbury, who has bought suspected indecent material.
At that time CEOP was under the command of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and did not properly examine the information.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) replaced in October 2013 and requested Toronto Police in October 2013 for an update on progress.
It then became apparent that the information had not been fully processed or sent to UK police forces for their consideration.
The NCA identified a number of concerns about the handling of information and carried out two internal reviews to ensure that processes were improved.
All of the recommendations of these reviews were accepted and have been implemented.
The matter was then referred to the IPCC in September 2014 which looked at how the information was handled and who had responsibility for owning and progressing the intelligence.
The investigation found that the initial handling and assessment of the material had been appropriate.
But the primary issues of concern related to how the information had been dealt with thereafter.
This included what appeared to be the lack of formal procedures for reviewing the progress of referrals.
There was evidence of a lack of a general understanding or agreement as to who had ownership of the issue for some time, disagreements as to which team within the organisation might have the capacity to take the lead and consider and process the information most appropriately. Decisions in respect of the Toronto police referral had not been taken and there had been a lack of adequate supervision.
This was against the background of, at that time, there being a significant backlog of work and other information to deal with within CEOP.
As a result the information was not dealt with in a timely manner.
Following the IPCC investigation, a police officer, who had been seconded to CEOP at the time, faced misconduct proceedings for allegedly failing in his duties and responsibilities.
At a meeting on Monday the allegations were found not proven.
An NSPCC spokesman said:”The Watchdog has identified critical blunders made by officers from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) regarding intelligence.
“Their intervention and effective information sharing could have saved Bradbury’s victims from his grotesque crimes.
“Whilst changes have now been made agencies need to ensure that sensitive information about professionals who work with children is prioritised and dealt with immediately.
“Close scrutiny will be needed to gauge whether the CEOP follows the key recommendations made by the National Crime Agency in the aftermath of this shocking case.
“Anyone who has concerns about a child should call the police or contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.”