FILE - In this Tuesday, May 13, 2014 file photo, British singer Cliff Richard performs on stage during the first show of his European tour 'Still Reelin' And A-Rockin' at the o2-Arena in Hamburg, Germany. British police say they are searching a house belonging to singer Cliff Richard in connection with sexual allegations dating back to the 1980s. South Yorkshire Police say eight officers are at the house in Berkshire, west of London on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. The force said the allegations "involve a boy who was under the age of 16 at the time." (AP Photo/dpa, Markus Scholz, File)

London - A senior police officer has apologised to Sir Cliff Richard for the handling of the raid on his home over an historic sexual abuse allegation.

Chief Constable David Crompton was accused of “sheer incompetence” for allowing the BBC to film shots of the police at the singer's flat, and he's acknowledged that the matter was dealt with in an inappropriate fashion.

He said: “We had a job to do. But I apologise to Sir Cliff if we were insensitive about the way we did that.”

Sir Cliff, 73, has not been arrested or charged following the raid, which relates to an alleged assault on a boy in Sheffield in 1985. He denies any wrongdoing.

However, the way the investigation was handled by the police has prompted criticism from Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

He said: “The committee is amazed at what appears to be sheer incompetence in the way that this was dealt with.”

The officer, meanwhile, said that the BBC had full details and were prepared to go public with what they knew if it could not film the raid.

He explained: “It put us in a difficult position.”

BBC boss Tony Hall insisted their reporter was only given a tip-off, but was later given a full briefing when he spoke to the police.

Gideon Benaim, Sir Cliff's lawyer, said that he did not wish to become “embroiled in wider issues” while the probe continued. - BANG Showbiz