Police chief, BBC boss face grilling over Cliff Richard search

AFPAugust 23, 2014
In a file picture taken on August 31, 2007 British pop singer Sir Cliff Richard arrives for the memorial service marking the 10th anniversary of princess Diana in London
In a file picture taken on August 31, 2007 British pop singer Sir Cliff Richard arrives for the memorial service marking the 10th anniversary of princess Diana in London (AFP Photo/Carl de Souza)

London (AFP) - The director general of the BBC and a police chief constable have been summoned to give evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee over the police raid on singer Cliff Richard's apartment.

The "Living Doll" star's penthouse in Sunningdale, Berkshire was searched last week over a historic sex abuse allegation dating back to the 1980s.

The move sparked controversy because the BBC had a film crew at the scene, prompting questions about how they knew the search was taking place.

David Crompton, chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, and Tony Hall were summoned to appear on September 2, the day after parliament returns from its summer recess.

The parliamentary committee's chairman, Keith Vaz MP, announced the move on Friday evening.

"These are serious matters which deal with the sensitive issue of how the police conduct their investigations," he said.

"The balance between mass and individual public interest must be struck appropriately and the relationships between the police and the media must always be ethical."

Richard, 73, has strongly denied any wrong-doing, saying the allegations against him were "completely false".

His fans are showing their support by buying copies of his 1992 single "I Still Believe in You" in a bid to get it into this week's Top 40.