Police ‘not tackling grooming’


Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A campaigning MP has criticised one of the country’s leading police officers for failing to tackle grooming gangs and said his views on child abuse are “dangerously out of step with public opinion”.

Simon Danczuk claimed Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy did not see the issue as a priority, and urged him to do more.

The Labour MP for Rochdale made the comments after an ITV News report said hundreds of child abusers were free to walk Manchester’s streets because the force had failed to investigate allegations properly.

Ex-detective Margaret Oliver, who has repeatedly criticised her former employers, wrote a report into grooming gangs a decade ago, naming abusers.

She told the programme: “Had we addressed it 10 years ago I am in no doubt that we wouldn’t be seeing the problem in the volume it is now.

“From that time to this time, we have had 10 years where that problem has been allowed to develop and to grow and grow and grow.”

Another detective, who spoke anonymously, told ITV News she wrote a further report into grooming gangs four years ago but it went unheeded.

She said: “I told them young girls were being abused but they didn’t listen or resource the investigation, they were only interested in target crimes, robbery, burglary and car theft. Because this kind of crime was difficult to prosecute and didn’t show up quickly on crime figures. They weren’t interested.”

The Chief Constable told the programme: “We must do everything we can to contain these people, to get people arrested, to get people convicted.

“But we are misleading the public if they think absolutely that the police can solve this problem.

“We made mistakes in the past that some of our officers developed a sort of mind-set that victims in these sorts of cases had been unreliable and I think that was also a mind-set that developed within prosecutors as well.”

He said the legal system had not changed, and if police could not prosecute offenders for child sex abuse, they would look at other avenues.

“We look at the abusers and say even if we can’t get them for this particular offence, we can still hit them with anything else we can – their taxi licence, their shop they run, if they are involved in any other criminality, we will get them.”

When challenged by reporter Martin Geissler that child rapists should be prosecuted for more serious offences than taxi licence evasion, Sir Peter replied: “If that’s the only thing you can get them for, then that’s what we have to get them for.”

Mr Danczuk said: “I have repeatedly pressed Sir Peter Fahy to do more to tackle child abuse in Greater Manchester, as I have seen how it’s destroying lives in my constituency of Rochdale.

“Despite the public’s anger at these crimes I do not think Sir Peter has properly got to grips with grooming gangs and his comments today will come as a further kick in the teeth to victims of rape who want to see the perpetrators of these evil crimes put behind bars.

“For the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police to say it’s misleading the public to think the police can solve this problem is completely the wrong message to be sending out.

“There is only one agency that can put rapists behind bars and that’s the police.

“Other police officers have told me that Sir Peter does not see this crime as a priority and I think his views on child abuse are dangerously out of step with public opinion.”

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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