Andy Burnham issues statement after GMP apologizes to three victims of Rochdale grooming gang

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has welcomed GMP’s apology to three victims of grooming gangs in Rochdale.

GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson met the women on Tuesday afternoon (April 12) and apologized for police misconduct in their cases. The three victims also received “substantial” payments from the force. In a statement, Mr Burnham said the move ‘marks a clear break with GMP’s past behaviour’.

He said: “Days after being elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, I commissioned an independent assurance review into the historic sexual exploitation of children in Greater Manchester, following The Betrayed Girls documentary and the serious issues raised by (GMP whistleblower) Maggie Oliver. The first phase of the review reported in January 2020 and, while the review in other areas, including Rochdale, is ongoing, it is only right that action be taken where possible.

Read more: Victims of Rochdale grooming gangs stranded by GMP receive apology and ‘substantial’ payout

“There is no doubt that GMP has failed victims and survivors alike. So I am delighted that today the new Chief Constable met with some of Rochdale and Maggie Oliver’s child sexual abuse victims and has apologized in person and in writing. This marks a clear break from past behavior at GMP and I hope it will provide reassurance that under the new leadership of our Chief of Police, an entirely different approach is being taken towards victims. and face the mistakes of the past.

Mr Watson also apologized for the mistakes of his predecessors in not investigating abusers, a culture that occurred under former police chiefs including Sir Peter Fahy.

He told the women: “It is a matter of deep personal regret that your childhood was so cruelly affected by the terrible experiences you endured. GMP could and should have done so much more to protect you and we left you alone. fall.”

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The apology comes a decade after nine members of Rochdale’s grooming gangs were convicted following an investigation known as Operation Span. The trial heard that the girls, as young as 12, were doused with alcohol and drugs and gang-raped in rooms above take-out stores, and transported to different apartments in taxis where l money was paid to mistreat them.

One of the three women was portrayed as the character Ruby in the award-winning BBC dramatization of the Rochdale grooming scandal – Three Girls. In legal documents, Ruby, identified as BXW, says the abuse began when she was 12 and continued for four years, where she was passed ‘like a bullet’ between ‘thousands’ of men for rape and sexual abuse.

She was pregnant by a man, Adil Khan, when she was 13 and had an abortion. Police seized the fetus as evidence, but she was not notified – neither her mother nor any responsible adult. The second woman, Amber, also portrayed in the 2017 BBC drama, was 14 when the abuse began, according to her legal claim. She was first raped while drunk, then raped and sexually assaulted by numerous men on numerous occasions, giving police the names or nicknames of 45 men who abused or abused her. other children.

Members of the Rochdale grooming gang: (top row left to right) Abdul Rauf, Hamid Safi, Mohammed Sajid and Abdul Aziz; (Bottom row left to right) Abdul Qayyum, Adil Khan, Mohammed Amin and Kabeer Hassan Adil Khan, Abdul Rauf and Abdul Aziz

Another woman, Daisy, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was only 12 when the abuse began. She said: “I don’t know if I believe Greater Manchester Police have really changed their ways as they say, but I’m glad they’ve taken their failures on board and there’s finally been a some responsibility.”

Kate Ellis, a solicitor at the CWJ who represented all three claimants, said: ‘We hope today’s result will serve as a reminder to Greater Manchester Police and other police forces that they will be held accountable if they do not. they fail to protect vulnerable children from exploitation and abuse.”

Learn more about the Rochdale grooming scandal: ‘Three Girls’, Cyril Smith and Knowl View – why did the predators have carte blanche in Rochdale?

Read also : Rochdale grooming scandal: Children were raped, so why didn’t anyone believe them?

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