More child grooming arrests likely, says police chief

Peter Fahy talking to colleague
Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Photo: ITV Granada

Nine men have already been sentenced to between four and nineteen years for operating a child grooming ring in Rochdale, but according to the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) chief that is not the end of the story.

Only five girls gave evidence in the trial, but police believe there may have been as many as 47 victims. Chief Constable Peter Fahy wants other victims to come forward, but acknowledges that their vulnerability makes it difficult to bring this sort of case to court.

They are damaged individuals, they have weaknesses in their own backgrounds which we know will be exploited by defence solicitors.

– Chief Constable Peter Fahy

But despite this difficulty, he says it is 'likely' there will be more arrests, though for operational reasons he was unable to give more details. What is more certain is the boost that these nine convictions will have given GMP's investigation into child grooming. How it handled the original allegations in 2008 is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but officers now say they know more about this type of crime than they did then.

With the scale of the Rochdale ring laid bare, together with the uncomfortable questions it raises about race relations and the protection of children in care, it is also now firmly lodged in the public conscience. That too should spur on more convictions.