Former GMP detective Maggie Oliver says grooming still happening in Rochdale

A former Greater Manchester Police detective who left the force in disgust of their handling of young girls who were groomed in Rochdale, says young people are still being abused in the town.

Maggie Oliver, who resigned from her job over the scandal, directly addressed GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson during a press conference organised by Andy Burnham on Monday.

She said grooming is still happening in Rochdale, and failures of the past are being repeated.

  • Former GMP Detective Maggie Oliver addresses current Chief Constable Stephen Watson over grooming in Rochdale during Monday's press conference

She said: "My work in the Maggie Oliver Foundation means that I have current information about what is going on today. I would say categorically and I am sorry Mr Watson, but the faiilures that happened then, are still happening now.

"It's okay to have a report like this, but I want change from this report. I don't want to be standing here in ten years time with another report."

Speaking to ITV Granada's Mel Barham, she said child abuse is 'never going to go away'.

The review published today was commissioned by Greater Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham, after a BBC documentary was aired following allegations by whistleblowers by Maggie Oliver and whisteblower Sara Rowbotham.

Grooming in the town of Rochdale is still happening, according to former GMP detective Maggie Oliver Credit: ITV Granada

It covers 2004 to 2013 and sets out multiple failed investigations by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and apparent local authority indifference to the plight of hundreds of youngsters, mainly white girls from poor backgrounds, all identified as potential victims of abuse in Rochdale by Asian men.

Malcolm Newsam CBE, co-author of the report, said: “Successive police operations were launched over this period, but these were insufficiently resourced to match the scale of the widespread organised exploitation within the area.

“Consequently, children were left at risk and many of their abusers to this day have not been apprehended.”

The report identifies 96 men still deemed a potential risk to children, but this is “only a proportion” of the numbers involved in the abuse.

Maggie Oliver has since founded The Maggie Oliver Foundation, a charity supporting adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson

On Monday, GMP's Chief Constable apologised to victims of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale.

Stephen Watson described the report's findings as "shocking, stark and shameful."

He said“It remains to be a matter of profound regret that victims of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale in the early 2000s were failed by Greater Manchester Police – to them, I apologise. Today, I also recognise the plight of Maggie Oliver and Sara Rowbotham - who advocated for victims and survivors when no one else did, and ultimately enabled the review and publication of this report. 

“Whilst the report rightfully vindicates Maggie and Sara and reinforces the importance of the changes we have already made – many with Maggie’s support, it remains to be said that the current prevention of and response to child sexual exploitation in Rochdale and across Greater Manchester has been overhauled since the early 2000s to ensure that victims and survivors are cared for and receive the expected level of service."

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