Danny Friedman QC was one of four independent members of Operation Conifer Scrutiny panel who were appointed by Wiltshire Police to provide oversight from people of diverse professional backgrounds and experience. Their own expertise included ethics, psychology, human rights and police commissions.
The Panel was invited to observe and ask questions of each stage of the investigation as members of the public who were provided the type of confidential access to a police inquiry that could not ordinarily be the case.
At the conclusion of the investigation the Panel issued the following joint statement:
“The Scrutiny Panel believes that the investigation was fair, sensitive and rigorous with regard to both victims and suspects. As he cannot answer the allegations against him, there is an unavoidable gap in the evidence with regard to Sir Edward Heath. However, in our judgment the position that Sir Edward held in British public life meant that it was entirely warranted to consider the disclosures that were made and to produce a summary of the investigation in the format that is published in this document. We wish to commend Wiltshire Police for conducting a thorough, but proportionate investigation. We also acknowledge their efforts to safeguard vulnerable witnesses and to prevent disclosure of confidential information. This was arguably a unique event in British policing, and we believe that the Force has met the challenge.”