Calls for Sir Peter Fahy to step down over 'whitewash' report into botched Rochdale sex gang probe
Former Detective Margaret Oliver has called on the Chief Constable to resign following the release of a report into grooming in Rochdale
Margaret Oliver spoke out following the publication of an internal GMP report into the 2008 investigation into a group of Asian men who were preying on vulnerable white girls and sharing them across the north west for sex.
The former detective constable was part of the second investigation, Operation Span, which ended in the jailing of nine men in 2012.
She turned whistleblower and resigned in 2013 after being ‘slapped down’ for making internal allegations that the second investigation had repeated the mistakes of the first.
With responsibility for gaining the confidence of the victims so they could give evidence at the trial, she said sex crimes weren’t recorded properly and that one victim was betrayed by police when her case was dropped on the eve of the trial.
She has spoken out after the publication of GMP’s internal investigation into the original probe, overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, revealed none of the seven police officers involved in the first investigation would face any disciplinary action.
The report, which conceded mistakes had been made, revealed five officers were given management advice while two others who had a case to answer would avoid sanctions, one because he had tried to get more senior officers to expand the investigation but became ‘overwhelmed’, and the second because he retired.
Calling for Sir Peter to step down, Mrs Oliver told the MEN: “This report is a complete whitewash. It just beggars belief. It focuses on the mistakes of officers on the division who have been made scapegoats because of the failures of GMP. It’s a farce. This report doesn’t scratch the surface. It was senior officers including the chief constable who failed to resource the enquiry properly. This problem had bee allowed to grow for ten years. Operation Span repeated the failures of the first investigation and senior officers like Sir Peter ought to be held accountable.”
Sir Peter described her criticisms as ‘unfair’, saying experienced CPS lawyers had made the decision to withdraw one of the victims from the 2012 trial and insisting the second probe had secured nine convictions and brought the sex grooming issue to national prominence.
He conceded there had been ‘mistakes’ in the original investigation, adding that officers were deterred by the difficulty in getting the CPS to charge and when cases got to court the difficulty in gaining a conviction.
He blamed the ‘target culture’ at the time where the Labour Government asked police forces to concentrate on tackling volume crime like burglary.
“It created a an atmosphere and a culture in GMP and nationally where property based crime had a bigger focus than crimes against people which is absolutely shameful,” he said.