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Mr Veale has given a textbook demonstration of how the police should be free from political interference and able to investigate crimes without fear or favour.
He has been subjected to fierce Establishment criticism for investigating sex abuse claims against former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.
In his first major interview since the release of a report which said seven child abuse allegations against Sir Edward – including the rape of an 11-year-old boy – would warrant questioning the former Prime Minister under caution were he still alive, Mr Veale: The 51-year-old’s accent retains the soft burr of his Somerset childhood; he left Midsomer Norton secondary school aged 16 and spent ten years on the beat.‘I’m a down-to-earth guy, my social circle is not wine bars and gin and tonics,’ he says, smiling, before adding: ‘But I’m a bit more astute than a dogged old cop.’ Just in case you think he is a yokel in a uniform, which he isn’t. ” ’Asked if the Heath inquiry had changed his mind, Mr Veale replies in a flash: ‘Yes.’Is he really suggesting allegations of a wider Westminster paedophile ring – dismissed as fantasy after a separate inquiry into ex-Home Secretary Leon Brittan and others collapsed – could be true?
He says a ‘relentless campaign by the Establishment’ to undermine him over the Heath inquiry caused him ‘the most stress and soul-searching I’ve had in 30 years. His features, as fair and fresh as a cider apple, strain as he grapples with his tormentor – that ‘inanimate object’, as he calls the Establishment.‘It can be quite sinister. Each word of his reply is delivered as carefully and as slowly as a PC stalking a burglar.‘If any, if even one bit of this [Conifer] is true, what did the Government know, the Civil Service, the security services?
Mr Veale’s inability to give details of each case or any corroboration to protect anonymity played into the hands of those who said the accusations against Sir Edward were flimsy.
But claims that Mr Veale was not thorough are unfair. He even copied the BBC TV series New Tricks, starring Dennis Waterman and Amanda Redman, about retired cops who investigate unsolved crimes.
And the more I pushed for justice, the more I came under attack from bosses.He was accused of being ‘stupid’, leading a ‘witch-hunt’, and told he would be forced to resign the moment it saw the light of day.Well, it did on Thursday – and 24 hours later he was back at his desk at Wiltshire Police HQ in Devizes.around the Establishment.‘Compelling, intelligent people who have moved me.‘The boil needs to be lanced one way or another.If there is nothing to hide, open the doors.’Frustratingly, he won’t say more, citing the confidentiality of his inquiry.