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Dublin: 3°C Sunday 29 November 2020

South Yorkshire police complain to the BBC over Cliff Richard 'leak'

The police said it was “disappointing” that the BBC was slow to acknowledge that the force was not the source of the leak.

Source: Andrew Matthews

A LETTER OF complaint from the South Yorkshire police has been sent to the Director General of the BBC accusing it of breaching its editorial guidelines in relation to the investigation into the alleged sexual assault of a boy by the singer Cliff Richard.

Controversy has surrounded the case due to BBC journalists finding out about a search that was due to take place on the singer’s home.

It is alleged that the singer assaulted a boy under the age of 16 in 1985.

South Yorkshire Police said they would welcome an investigation into the original leak, adding that it was “disappointing” that the BBC was slow to acknowledge that the force was not the source of the leak.

Taking steps to clarify the involvement of the BBC in a search carried out by officers at Cliff Richard’s property in Berkshire on Thursday the police issued a statement.

They said that a warrant was granted after police received an allegation of a sexual nature dating back to the 1980s, involving a boy who was under the age of 16 at the time.

Sir Cliff Richard investigation

“At no point in this investigation has South Yorkshire Police leaked information. This has been confirmed publicly by the BBC,” they stated.

Outlining the timeline of events, the police said they were contacted some weeks ago by a BBC reporter who made it clear he knew of the existence of an investigation. “It was clear he was in a position to publish it,” they added.

London Olympics Opening Ceremony Cliff Richard Source: Markus Schreiber

While the force was reluctant to cooperate they said they felt that to do otherwise would risk losing any potential evidence, so in the interests of the investigation it was agreed that the reporter would be notified of the date of the house search in return for delaying publication of any of the facts.

The police stated:

Contrary to media reports, this decision was not taken in order to maximise publicity, it was taken to preserve any potential evidence.

Finally we want to stress that this is an ongoing and complex investigation and we are in the process of gathering evidence. This is likely to take some time and we would caution against any reporting which may be prejudicial. This is in the interests of all parties.

Cliff Richard has denied the allegations.

Read: Police say they didn’t tip off the media before searching Cliff Richard’s house>

Read: Cliff Richard: Sex crime claim ‘completely false’>

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