THREE South Yorkshire Police officers have been served with gross misconduct notices as part an investigation into the handling of allegations against former pop star Ian Watkins.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has three independent investigations ongoing, focussed on the response of South Wales Police, Bedfordshire Police and South Yorkshire Police to allegations that Watkins, the singer with the Welsh band Lost Prophets, was abusing children.
Last December Watkins was handed a 35-year sentence for a string of child sex offences which a judge said “plumbed new depths of depravity”.
The disgraced rock star even spoke with a female fan from prison the day after admitting two counts of attempted baby rape and said he was going to issue a statement saying it had all been “mega lolz”.
Watkins was told he would serve 29 years in jail with the final six on licence. He confessed to 13 offences and was described as a committed and determined paedophile.
The three South Yorkshire Police officers, one sergeant and two police constables, have been served with notices advising them that their conduct is subject to investigation.
The IPCC is investigating complaints around the handling of three reports made to the force between March and May 2012 which contained allegations against Mr Watkins with potential evidence.
The IPCC is also investigating Bedfordshire Police’s handling of information from a member of the public who reported an allegation of child abuse against Mr Watkins to the force in October 2012. A sergeant and a constable have been served with notices advising them their conduct is under investigation.
The South Wales Police detective constable, who was attached to the Child Protection Unit, is the second officer from the force to be investigated.
The IPCC has received a substantial amount of documentation from the three forces which is being analysed by investigators.
IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams said: “We are making good progress with our three independent investigations and as result of our enquiries IPCC investigators have served notices on six further officers as part of the ongoing investigation – three from South Yorkshire Police, two from Bedfordshire Police and a second from South Wales Police. Arrangements are being made to interview the officers in the coming weeks.
“We have now conducted two interviews with a detective sergeant from South Wales Police about his actions in relation to information about Ian Watkins. We anticipate he will be interviewed again in the near future.
“We are continuing to gather and analyse information in all three investigations in order to establish what steps were taken by police in response to the allegations made against Ian Watkins, whether he could have been brought to justice sooner and whether his celebrity status had any impact on those investigations.”