Sir Peter Fahy has been accused of a ‘lack of desire’ to investigate child abuse claims by a former Greater Manchester Police detective.
The accusations against the Chief Constable have been made by former detective constable, Margaret Oliver, who resigned from her post in 2012 after becoming frustrated with the force’s disinterest in following up allegations of abuse.
The claims have come after an ITV investigation exposed the force for failing to investigate claims of child abuse, leaving hundreds of child abusers free to walk the streets of Manchester over the last ten years.
Ms Oliver submitted an internal report to the force more than ten years ago, which detailed abuse allegations and she disclosed the names of victims and offenders to her bosses, but no-one was charged and no action was taken.
“Had we addressed it ten years ago I am in no doubt that we wouldn’t be seeing the problem in the volume it is now,” said Ms Oliver to ITV.
“From that time to this time, we have had ten years where that problem has been allowed to develop and to grow and grow and grow.”
And she blames Sir Peter for the ‘lack of desire’ to investigate abuse.
“Peter Fahy is responsible for GMP. He cannot pretend that he doesn’t know what is not being done in relation to the investigation of this kind of crime,” she said.
“I told him and I won’t be the only person who told him.”
The investigation heard accusations from serving and former detectives of attempts to cover up failings to tackle gangs of Asian men who were routinely abusing young girls.
Senior officers were revealed to have a lack of interest in following-up allegations because the crime is ‘difficult to prosecute’.
In a statement last night, Sir Peter said he admitted the country’s third largest police force ‘has recognised that it could have done more to support the victims of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale’.
“There had already been major investigations of sexual abuse of vulnerable children at children’s homes in Rochdale, but it is now clear that our response should have been better,” he admitted.
“Since 2010 we have moved considerable resources into child protection and the investigation of sexual exploitation.
“We have learned from what happened and these improvements have been recognised as good practice to protect vulnerable young people.”
He argues that the lack of attention on prosecuting child sex offenders was due to higher pressure from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Home Office Standards Unit five years ago to improve GMP’s ‘response to acquisitive crimes such as burglary and car crime’.
“As a result, the force was required to focus on improving its performance in relation to those offences,” he added.
“Considerable resources are now invested in a number of ongoing investigations and we have already made clear that further arrests will be made.
“There have already been a number of major investigations across Greater Manchester relating to sexual abuse of children, including historic cases, which have led to convictions.
“These are complex and challenging investigations and we are committed to bringing offenders to justice.”
Image courtesy of ITV, with thanks