- 3 updates
A new criminal investigation has been announced today into claims that authorities in Rochdale covered up the sexual abuse of children at one of its schools.
Greater Manchester Police will look into how reports of alleged abuse were handled at Knowl View, the residential school for boys.
So far 18 boys have come forward to say they were abused at the school where the former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith was a governor.
The new investigation comes as a direct result of a book written by the Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk into the former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith.
In that book Danczuk alleges that Smith abused young boys at the school in the 1980's and 1990's, and that he wasn't alone.
That there was a group of paedophiles abusing young boys at the school.
Greater Manchester Police have looked into that book and say there's enough evidence within it to begin a seperate inquiry into an alleged cover-up, something Simon Danczuk says is necessary.
Linda Fisher, Acting Chief Executive, Rochdale Borough Council:
“The historic activities at Knowl View and any subsequent accusations of wrong doing must be fully examined and Rochdale Borough Council very much welcomes the investigation by GMP police.
“We will continue to co-operate fully with the force’s inquiries making all information available.
“This is a positive step on the road to resolution and we are pleased the Force has acted swiftly to launch a criminal investigation.
“The people of Rochdale, the Council and most importantly the victims, need to have confidence in the process and faith that the truth will be discovered and any necessary actions taken.
“Our own independent review, being carried out by Neil Garnham QC, will recommence when this is deemed appropriate and in agreement with GMP.”
Greater Manchester Police is to launch a new investigation into whether reports of abuse by Cyril Smith and others were covered-up by the authorities in Rochdale.
The independent inquiry will be separate from the investigation underway into alleged abuse at Knowl View school. The investigation announced today will focus on how reports of child abuse by were handled by local authorities, namely Rochdale Council and local Police forces.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Wiggett from GMP, said: “Following the publication of MP Simon Danczuk's book 'Smile for the Camera’, GMP conducted an assessment of the allegations contained within that book. As a result of the assessment, GMP decided that a criminal investigation was required.
“This also followed consultation with Rochdale Council and the QC conducting the independent inquiry on their behalf. The council asked Neil Garnham QC to suspend his independent review and he has agreed to do so.
“The GMP investigation will now seek to identify whether any offences have been committed in the way that previous reports of abuse were handled or allegedly covered up.
“The main concerns relate to the response to child abuse over several decades connected to Knowl View School in Rochdale.
“We have consulted with the Home Office in relation to the national inquiry that has been announced into how organisations responded to child abuse, but as these matters relate to criminal allegations in the GMP area, the responsibility to investigate them falls to the Chief Constable.
“We are aware that some of the allegations relate to the past involvement of police officers, and therefore we have referred those matters to the IPCC. In addition, we have established an independent oversight panel to demonstrate the independence and rigour of the investigation that we will be conducting.
“If there are further allegations that relate to the conduct of police officers, these will similarly be referred to the IPCC, as we are required to do.”