Police tight-lipped over reports sex assault probe against Cliff Richard has been ‘dropped’

Sir Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard
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South Yorkshire Police today refused to comment on reports that an investigation into an alleged sexual assault by Sir Cliff Richard on a young boy is being dropped.

It was claimed in a Sunday newspaper that one of the singer’s accusers has been told by police his allegation against the 74-year-old will not be taken any further.

Police in South Yorkshire, who came in for heavy criticism over a deal struck with the BBC to allow a raid on Sir Cliff’s Berkshire home to be broadcast live, refused to comment on the claims.

A spokeswoman said: “The investigation is ongoing and enquiries continue.”

The alleged victim whose case is reported to have been dropped is said to be one of three whose claims are being looked into by South Yorkshire Police.

Details of the probe emerged in August when detectives searched the singer’s Berkshire apartment while film crews from the BBC, including one in a helicopter, caught the event on camera.

Following the raid, Sir Cliff was interviewed by detectives investigating a claim of a sex crime involving a young boy, but was not arrested or charged. He vehemently denies the claims against him.

Earlier this year, South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton said the investigation into Sir Cliff had “increased significantly in size” since its inception and involved “more than one allegation”.

He said the “expanding nature” of the investigation meant he could not give a date when it would be concluded.

In February, an independent report concluded that an agreement between the BBC and police which led to a raid on Sir Cliff’s home being broadcast live around the world “certainly interfered with his privacy and may well have caused unnecessary distress”.

A former chief constable said South Yorkshire Police should never have a made a deal with the broadcaster - a decision taken after BBC reporter Dan Johnson went to the force saying he knew they were investigating the veteran entertainer.

In his report, Andy Trotter said: “The search at Sir Cliff Richard’s apartment, and the nature of the allegation, generated considerable publicity across the world, certainly interfered with his privacy and may well have caused unnecessary distress.”

He said: “Whatever the motivation and good intentions of those involved from SYP, the outcome has been bad publicity for the force, the Chief Constable being summoned to HASC (Home Affairs Select Committee), criticism from the media and politicians, complaints from the public, abuse on social media and a public spat with the BBC.

“More importantly, people have seen a search on Sir Cliff Richards’s apartment unfold on television with details of a serious allegation put into the public domain prior to him being interviewed by the police.

“The force can argue that the search was carried out successfully and there was no interference to the investigation that the threat of prior publication was avoided. That is true but at considerable cost to the reputation of the force which could have been avoided by the individuals concerned.”