Fears that Ian Watkins escaped justice for years because of his celebrity status will be investigated as part of a wide-ranging police inquiry.
Seven police officers have been served with gross misconduct notices as part of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s investigation into how allegations against the disgraced Lostprophets frontman were handled.
Watkins was jailed for 29 years in 2013 for a string of serious sexual offences against children. He admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13, conspiring to rape a child, three counts of sexual assault involving children, seven involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal.
Now South Yorkshire Police, Bedfordshire Police and South Wales Police are to be investigated over the question of whether he should have been caught sooner.
IPCC commissioner Jan Williams says: “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.”
The inquiry will look at complaints about South Yorkshire Police’s handling of three reports made in 2012 which contained potential evidence of Watkins’ crimes. It will also investigate how Bedfordshire Police dealt with an allegation of child abuse against the musician the same year.
A statement from Bedfordshire Police said that, at the time of the complaint, there was insufficient evidence that any crime had taken place, concluding: “A medical examination of the child did not reveal any evidence of abuse at that time.”