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Greater Manchester Police child sexual exploitation failures

By Sally Smith

Published In: Child Abuse - Grooming Gangs

A review into Operation Span, Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) investigation of non-recent grooming allegations, sets out a series of failures by the police. The report covers a period between 2004 and 2013 and is highly critical of both GMP and councils in the area.

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The independent review, which was commissioned by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, followed allegations made in the documentary ‘The Betrayed Girls’, about child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Greater Manchester.

 The report, which focuses on 111 cases in Rochdale, concludes:

  •  There was evidence of widespread child sexual exploitation of children
  • Police and councils failed to respond appropriately
  • The threat of CSE was not addressed between 2004 and 2007
  • In the cases of 48 girls exploited there were serious failures to protect them
  • Police and social services failed to commit sufficient resources to the large number of allegations of grooming gangs in Greater Manchester
  • 96 men considered to be a danger to girls are still at large

The report detailed multiple failed investigations by police and an apparent indifference to the safety of the young girls identified as potential victims. Questions still remain about the lack of police action including whether the police thought girls were consenting and whether they thought the cases were too hard to investigate.

Quite apart from the known failings, David Greenwood of Switalskis believes the only way to improve responses by police and councils is to hold individuals accountable. He comments:

 “The experience of Rotherham is that there has been zero accountability. Police officers are allowed to escape by resigning or using the convoluted complaints process to avoid being disciplined. They can resign and completely escape. Likewise council officials are paid off rather than confronted through disciplinary procedures. We need changes to the police complaints system and strong leadership in councils. Child sexual abuse must be seen as a top priority.”

 Switalskis highly experienced team has been working on child sexual exploitation cases since 2013. We have successfully concluded compensation cases arising from abuse in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oldham, Bradford and Oxford.

 If you or a friend need confidential advice, please contact Sally Smith email or call 01924 882000.

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Sally has 23 years experience in the legal sector.  She qualified as a solicitor in 2002.

Associate Solicitor

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