Greater Manchester Police's full apology to Rochdale grooming victims

  • Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Stephen Watson, apologises to the three women

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has personally apologised to three victims of the Rochdale Grooming gangs.

Stephen Watson told them his force had let them down after the women were repeatedly raped and sexually abused by the gang- were treated as criminals by the authorities.

The women met the top officer at GMP, at force headquarters on Tuesday 12 March where he apologised for the failure of the force to protect them and investigate the abusers, which happened under previous chief constables, including Sir Peter Fahy and his predecessor.

This is his apology in full:

"Today is not about Greater Manchester Police, but about those victims who in the past have been let down when they needed our help in the most traumatic and horrific circumstances.

"I have now personally delivered my apology to some of these victims for the failings Greater Manchester Police had in its contact with those who suffered child sexual exploitation in Rochdale.

"It is a matter of profound personal regret that the childhoods of these victims were so cruelly impacted by the dreadful experiences they endured.

"GMP could, and should, have done much more to protect them.

“The failings of our past into Child Sexual Exploitation are well known, and thankfully there is today a far better understanding of CSE than there was before the Operation Span trial in May 2012, and we are committed to leaving no stone unturned to bring these offenders to justice, no matter the passage of time, through our dedicated Force CSE unit.

“I hope that my apology and commitment to rectifying the poor practices of the past will provide some little comfort to those we failed.

"We will strive to keep improving our responses to similarly horrible circumstances, to prevent the same from happening in the first instance and relentlessly pursuing perpetrators so that they can be held fully to account.

“We have also agreed with the recipients to publish my apologies in full on our website, links to which can be found below.”