A former police detective who helped prosecute a Muslim grooming gang in 2012 says offenders identified during the original investigation are still at large in Rochdale and claims the conspiracy of cover-ups “goes right to the top of Government”.
Former Greater Manchester Police detective Maggie Oliver made the claim ahead of the release of the BBC’s three-part drama Three Girls, which depicts how child victims of Muslim rape gangs in Rochdale were let down by police and social services.
The former detective constable, who was consulted by the BBC and is portrayed in the drama, persuaded many of the victims to give evidence against the paedophiles who had sexually abused them for years. She later resigned because of the way the child victims had been treated, some of whom were dismissed as prostitutes.
Nine members of the Rochdale gang were jailed in 2012, but Ms. Oliver has been told by the victims that other offenders who were identified as a result of Operation Span are still walking the streets.
Writing for the Manchester Evening News, Ms. Oliver said: “There are still paedophiles who we identified as part of Span who are out there right now in Rochdale. I still support many of the girls and they tell me they’ve seen them. Once a paedophile, always a paedophile in my book. This is still happening.”
Oliver became a whistleblower and critic of how police mishandled the case, saying: “What I saw in Rochdale was police officers and senior cops acting without any shame because it was convenient to ignore the abuse they knew was happening. I felt it was wicked.”
Greater Manchester Police has defended its record on dealing with child sexual exploitation. But Ms. Oliver rejected that the police had learnt from their mistakes, relating she had worked on an “almost identical operation” in 2004 called Operation Augusta in Hulme and around the Curry Mile in Rusholme.
It was a “virtual carbon copy of Rochdale, men of largely Pakistani heritage were abusing vulnerable white girls”, she said.
Spending a year “knocking on every door in GMP” she wrote that “nobody wanted to know. I felt it was corrupt and so I resigned so I could speak out in public.”
“I [saw] senior officers in the force letting these girls down. They turned a blind eye.
“In fact I believe this goes right to the top of government. I know that the Home Office was getting daily updates about Operation Span. They are more interested in covering up for mistakes instead of holding their hands up.”
Last week, a march took place in Sunderland to protest alleged police inaction after a young mother, Chelsey Wright, reported being drugged, raped, and assaulted by a group of migrant men.
On Sunday, a survivor of child rape by a Muslim grooming gang in Rotherham told Katie Hopkins on LBC that when she reported being raped at the age of 13, authorities did nothing and told her not to mention the race of the attackers.