WHY have British police not interviewed Prince Andrew over allegations he had sex with a young woman who claims she was trafficked by the billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein?

Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims she was 17 when she first had sex with Andrew in London after being introduced by Epstein. She says they had sex three times. A photograph shows Andrew standing with his arm around Giuffre’s waist at an Epstein party. She alleges the picture was taken shortly before they had sex for the first time.

Giuffre says she was trafficked by Epstein in order to have sex with his rich and powerful friends.

Epstein was found dead in his prison cell in New York on August 10 while awaiting trial for child sex trafficking. The medical examiner ruled the death suicide. Epstein’s lawyers dispute the ruling. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of procuring an underage girl for prostitution in Florida. He served 13 months in custody - however, he was allowed to leave jail on work release for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

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Many of Epstein’s high profile friends broke off contact with him after he was jailed. Andrew did not. Giuffre says she was 16 when she began working at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort at Palm Beach where she was allegedly introduced to Epstein by Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Ghislaine Maxwell has been described as Epstein’s procurer. Maxwell vehemently denies all allegations against her.

In 2010, Andrew stayed at Epstein’s home. They were photographed walking around Central Park together. Andrew’s continued friendship with Epstein was one of the factors which led to him giving up his role as Britain’s trade envoy in 2011.

There have been claims that Epstein installed hidden cameras at his properties to record sex between underage girls and prominent figures for blackmail. Giuffre described herself as Epstein’s teenage ‘sex slave’. Prince Andrew has vehemently denied ever having a sexual relationship with Giuffre.

Channel 4’s Dispatches programme added more details to the story this week - leading to questions about the failure by British police to speak to Prince Andrew.

The investigative documentary, The Prince and the Paedophile, discovered that Epstein had a total of 13 telephone numbers for Andrew. The pair are also alleged to have taken part in an orgy with nine young women while at Epstein’s private Caribbean island. Giuffre claims the orgy was the third time she had sex with Andrew.

The claims demand attention. The Queen’s son is accused of having sex with a teenage girl three times who was trafficked by Epstein. A victim of trafficking is not giving their consent to sex.

After Epstein’s death, French police raided his apartment in Paris - however, no similar action was taken in Britain. In fact, the Metropolitan Police said: “Having closely examined the available evidence … no further action is being taken.”

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However, Dai Davies, former head of the Met’s Royal Protection Unit, says he’s mystified why detectives didn’t pursue a preliminary investigation. When asked if he thought police should be ‘fearful’ of questioning Andrew, Davies replied: “They should question anyone who has the appropriate knowledge … in respect of this matter.” He agreed police would be nervous. “Without a doubt,” he said, “you don’t take on the Royal family lightly.” However, he added: “Irrespective of who you are, what you are, you should answer to the law.”

The role of the British police in this case is straightforward - they need to establish if Virginia Roberts Giuffre was a victim of sex trafficking in Britain. Andrew has been linked to the allegation and so he should be spoken to by officers.

Questioning the Prince may in fact be in his best interests. He could be ruled out as a suspect. He may have information which could help the inquiry. Whatever happens, he must be spoken to, otherwise the law in Britain will be fatally undermined.

There was a sense watching The Prince and the Paedophile that many rich and powerful men and women think there’s one rule for us, and one rule for them. That sense of entitlement and even of being above the law needs to be killed stone dead.

With the Epstein saga, there are also echoes of Jimmy Savile. Epstein was acting in plain sight just as the offences by the BBC’s star of light entertainment were long known about.

The allegations against the Prince have not received the due attention they deserve - which must send out a very mixed message to victims of sex crime. For the last few days, the British press has obsessed on the apparent feud between Prince William and his brother Harry. Should anyone care whether two brothers have fallen out?

However, the claims against Prince Andrew matter greatly. There should be no difference in the eyes of the law between a young vulnerable woman, or a rich and powerful aristocrat.

Any allegation involving a sexual offence should be investigated thoroughly and quickly. But it shouldn’t matter if you live in a palace or under a railway bridge - we should all be equal in the eyes of the law.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre is not going away. She vowed that she would not stop fighting until ‘these people’ are brought to justice. When asked about Andrew’s denials she said: “He knows what he’s done, and he can attest to that.”

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue. It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts [Giuffre].”

Prince Andrew also said he did not “see, witness, or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction”.

He also admitted it was a “mistake and an error” to continue visiting Epstein following his release from prison.

Neil Mackay is Scotland’s Columnist of the Year