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Investigation into alleged Knowl View abuse cover-up

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.

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  1. Daniel Hewitt - Political Reporter

Police to investigate whether authorities in Rochdale covered-up abuse at Knowl View

Knowl View school closed in 1994 Credit: ITV Granada

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.”

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