South Yorkshire police chief to face MPs

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton

South Yorkshire’s top police officer is to be hauled before MPs as the row over the search of Sir Cliff Richard’s home intensifies.

Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, David Crompton, and director-general of the BBC Tony Hall, will face a grilling by MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee.

A row erupted when the BBC broke the news about a search of the pop star’s Berkshire home last week and a film crew arrived on scene before the police.

Mr Crompton and Lord Hall have been warned to be ready to give evidence after Parliament returns from recess.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz has written to Mr Crompton and Lord Hall asking a series of questions about how the BBC found out about the planned search.

They have been asked to reply by midday on Friday.

Sir Cliff’s celebrity friends Cilla Black and Gloria Hunniford have given the star their backing.

Cilla said: “Cliff is a very close friend of mine and has been for a million years.

“I, like everyone else, was shocked to hear of these allegations and I am absolutely positive that they are without foundation.”

Broadcaster Gloria Hunniford, said: “I’ve never seen Cliff put a foot or a word wrong in his life, never.

“He is a gorgeous man.”

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has appointed former chief constable Andy Trotter, who helped draw up press relations guidance for the College of Policing, to lead a probe into the affair.

Sir Cliff’s apartment was searched by South Yorkshire and Thames Valley police last week as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on a young boy at a religious event at Bramall Lane in 1985.

The performer was in Portugal when the search took place.

Among the questions Mr Crompton has been asked to answer are: who knew about the search, when were he and the force’s media team made aware of it, and whether anyone acted inappropriately.