There’s been some grim news emerging today – about how Essex Police have carried out investigations of child sexual abuse in North Essex.
The BBC have a disturbing report on it here:
A police force has apologised to alleged child abuse victims after it found problems with 30 investigations involving 59 children.
One police officer has been suspended and 11 others have been put on restrictive duties by Essex Police.
Some cases are said to involve a “lack of honesty or integrity” by officers.
The Independent newspaper is blunter. It begins its report with:
Vulnerable children were left at the mercy of child abusers after a rogue police unit delayed the arrests of suspects during more than three years of systemic failure, officials said.
The Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston writes on his blog about it here:
Early indications are that the problems relating to the quality of investigation and management of investigations identified in the North Child Abuse Investigation Team do not appear to be replicated in the West and South teams….
…. As Police and Crime Commissioner, I will continue to support the efforts of the overwhelming majority of police officers, PCSOs and police staff who work tirelessly to protect the people of Essex from harm. However, where officers are found to have failed in their fundamental duties, then firm and swift action must be taken….
….When I was elected Police and Crime Commissioner in November 2012, I knew that Essex Police needed to transform its approach to tackling domestic abuse, and I made this a priority in the Police and Crime Plan for our county. Much excellent work has taken place under the leadership of the Chief Constable, and I believe Essex Police’s new processes and increased commitment to partnership working are helping to address the horrors of domestic abuse
It is now clear that a similar focus is needed to ensure child sexual abuse is tackled as professionally as possible in our county. I am committed to ensuring that the hidden harms of child sexual exploitation, online grooming, ‘honour’ based violence and people trafficking become a priority for Essex Police….
The Chief Constable writes about it here and finishes with:
….If any victims or families are worried about child abuse investigations by Essex Police I would urge them to call our special helpline number on 01245 282103.
If you are currently suffering from abuse, or believe someone that you know is, you should call us immediately on 999. My officers will do their very best to protect you.