Is it not about time that the Church of England Safeguarders told us more about the new information that they have received concerning Bishop George Bell?
Having sat on whatever it is for some weeks, they announced in time for Synod that the new information existed. The crafty-seeming timing was widely thought to have been intended to disrupt some of the criticism that was coming their way at Synod on account of their shambolic conduct of the Bell case until then.
The Safeguarders said that they were in the process of commissioning an independent investigation of their new information, and meanwhile were going to reveal no more. On the other hand they had called in the police, which seems a waste of the police’s time when one remembers that Bell died sixty years ago.
Presumably “in the process of commissioning” means hunting for someone willing to do the job, which will probably be difficult, after the saga of Lord Carlile’s report on the Church’s handling of the earlier allegations against Bell ; the much-criticised statements by Archbishop Welby in response to Carlile’s report, and Carlile’s astringent comments on the way in which the Safeguarders are dealing with their second batch of information.
The natural assumption is that the Safeguarders are again out of their depth. Carlile has amply shown that their earlier procedures were chaotic. Is there reason to expect them to be any more capable of conducting a serious investigation the second time round than they were the first?
Perhaps they could give an impression of activity by advertising the job and stating the fee? As it is, seven weeks have gone by with no reassurance that they will show any more competence than they did last time.