British police defend not investigating Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew allegations

Britain's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has defended its decision not to investigate allegations of trafficking for sexual exploitation involving Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew.

In a statement released on Friday (NZ Time), police commander Alex Murray acknowledged the force received a complaint in 2015 regarding "non-recent trafficking for sexual exploitation". It was against Jeffrey Epstein and an unnamed British woman.

While the allegations involved events mostly out of the United Kingdom, Murray did mention one allegation was of trafficking to central London in March 2001.

The Associated Press and BBC report the allegation was by Virginia Roberts Guiffre, the woman who claims Prince Andrew had sex with her in 2001 in London when she was 17 years old. She alleges this happened after she was trafficked by Epstein, but the Prince rejects all accusations.

Guiffre will feature in a BBC interview to air on Monday (UK Time). A preview of the interview shows Guiffre saying Prince Andrew knows what happened.

"He knows what happened, I know what happened. And there's only one of us telling the truth."

Earlier this week, Guiffre was critical of the lack of investigation, accusing Scotland Yard and the FBI of corruption.

Murray said on Friday that the complaint was looked into in 2015, with available evidence assessed, the complainant interviewed and advice taken from Crown prosecutors. 

"Following the legal advice, it was clear that any investigation into human trafficking would be largely focused on activities and relationships outside the UK.

"We therefore concluded that the MPS was not the appropriate authority to conduct enquiries in these circumstances and, in November 2016, a decision was made that this matter would not proceed to a full criminal investigation."

Murray said that following Epstein's suicide in August 2019, the decision was reviewed but ultimately not changed.

"The MPS has liaised with other law enforcement organisations but has not received a formal request asking for assistance in connection with this allegation."

Prince Andrew - the Queen's second eldest son - has been under siege since his now-infamous Newsnight interview, where he admitted to "letting the side down" with his association to paedophile billionaire Epstein. 

Epstein died in prison after being arrested for sex trafficking minors and facing accusations of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

He would have served up to 45 years in prison if convicted, but died before he reached trial.

In the aftermath of the interview, Prince Andrew stepped away from official duties while the Queen reportedly cancelled his 60th birthday party. Numerous charities have cut their relationship with him.