Monday, 5 December 2016

Time to Publish Rochdale's Child Abuse Reports

Is there a cover-up going on in Greater Manchester?
by Les May
SOME three weeks after I originally wrote to him I have had a response from Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd.  A response to my e-mail, but not to my request:

‘Could we have a single and unambiguous public statement from you either that you repudiate Mr Danczuk's assertions and that you consider that the GMP investigation was thorough and carried out to the highest standards or that you agree with Mr Danczuk's assessment of the investigation and believe that GMP failed in its responsibility to carry out a thorough investigation into these allegations.’
Instead he directs me to an article in the Manchester Evening News which deals with the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to proceed with the case against David Higgins who in April this year was charged with 18 counts of indecent assault and one count of attempt indecent assault of two boys under the age of 16.
Lloyd is trying to conflate his response to the single case in which there was enough evidence against an individual to launch a prosecution, with the 13 cases where there was no realistic chance of a successful prosecution because there was no firm evidence.  So we still do not know whether he thinks the GMP investigation was done incompetently or not.  With support like this for the police service I’m glad I don’t work for GMP.
Like Danczuk he wants to talk about ‘victims’, even though there has not been a trial, or in Danczuk’s case, even in the absence of anyone being charged.  Unlike Danczuk he does not want to commit himself about how well Operation Jaguar was conducted.  He will neither reassure the public that the investigation was carried out to the highest standards nor will he dissociate himself from Danczuk’s wild comments about a ‘catalogue of failures’.  As Operation Jaguar is said to have cost half a million pounds this is simply not good enough.
We should not forget that not everyone who has had traumatic things happen to them necessarily wants ‘punishment’ of wrongdoers.  It may be that people simply need to have their side of the story heard and acknowledged, and have a burning sense of injustice when it is not.
For legal reasons that were entirely valid in1970, Cyril Smith never stood trial for indecently assaulting young men at Cambridge House.
But the detailed article which appeared in the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) in May 1979 ensured that their story was heard.  That Cyril was able to continue as an MP for another 13 years was not due to him being ‘protected’ by the security services, nor due to David Steele ‘turning a blind eye’.  It was due to the fact that the press chose not to run the story.
In refusing to publish the Shepherd and Mellor reports Rochdale MBC are denying the men who were at the school in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and are now approaching forty and with families of their own, the opportunity to have the unsavoury things that were going on at the school publicly acknowledged.  Some people would say they are being denied an opportunity for ‘closure’.
I am not aware that Mr Danczuk is on record as urging RMBC to publish these reports though it has been suggested that he should.  Unless he does start to press for publication his continued reference to ‘victims’ at Knowl View will begin to look like crocodile tears.

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