The child sex abuse scandal in Rochdale ‘is the same gravity of Rotherham’, a former Greater Manchester Police officer has said.
Speaking anonymously in an interview with BBC Radio 4, he claimed that during his time in the force senior officers within GMP knew the issue was prevalent, but did little to act.
He also said senior officials knew that girls as young as 13 were engaging in physical relationships with adult males, but did nothing because the victims did not make official complaints.
“The attitude [of senior officers] was: if they’re not making a complaint don’t do anything about it,” he said.
“Return them back to the children’s home. The point of origin.”
“The management were busy securing their own positions. They were worried about how it would look when those results were forwarded to command.”
The shocking comments come after a report published in August found that at least 1,400 children were sexually abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
The horrific scale of abuse and its alleged suppression by officials is scarily reminiscent of events in Mr Danczuk’s Rochdale constituency.
Cyril Smith, the town’s former MP, abused young boys over the course of four decades, while in 2012, nine Asian men were sent to prison for up to 12 years each for their part in what has become known as the ‘Rochdale grooming scandal’.
In his interview, the former GMP officer said that girls living in local authority care were the main victims, and it was because of their situation that little was done.
“This was the way it was viewed by the police and managers as well: these are girls who have chaotic lifestyles,” he said.
“They’re in local authority care, they go missing. Social services ring the police. The police would go and find them and return them to social services no questions asked.
“Everybody was happy, because most of the time the officers who were picking up the girls were uniformed officers and they wanted to get that done and dusted as quickly as they could because they had other jobs to do.”
The former GMP policeman also said that police officers, including himself, would refer to some of the young girls that were being abused as ‘scrubbers’.
“I’ll speak frankly. Let me think what we used to call them. It might sound quite bad really, but it’s just police. You know you’d say ‘scrubbers’ or something like that, with some of them.
“Because in all honesty, I’m being absolutely truthful, lots of the girls were like, persistent offenders, or from dysfunctional backgrounds.”
When asked why the apparent abuse was left ignored, the former officer said it ‘wasn’t a priority’.
In March of this year Greater Manchester Police had reportedly received 2000 calls about child sex abuse within a period of only 10 months.