Former Senior Police Officers Probed over Asian Child Rape Gang Scandal

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A police watchdog is investigating three former senior officers who led a failed inquiry into grooming gangs in Manchester.

Operation Augusta was a 2004 probe into child sexual exploitation by predominantly Pakistani men launched following the death of 15-year-old Victoria Agoglia, who died after reporting being raped and injected with heroin by her 50-year-old male abuser.

A report into the operation’s failures, published earlier this year, revealed that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers had been told to focus their efforts on arresting child sexual exploitation suspects who were not ‘Asian’ so as not to be accused of racism.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is now investigating three ex-policemen who led the operation, which the review found was deliberately under-resourced by senior officers and then closed down in 2005, the BBC reports.

IOPC director of major investigations Steve Noonan said: “We have now decided it is necessary to investigate the individual conduct of these three former GMP officers who were all involved in either supervising or setting the direction of Operation Augusta.”

Two of the officers have since retired from GMP. A third is now working for another organisation, according to the BBC.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who commissioned the report in 2017, said: “Given the seriousness of the issues revealed by the review into Operation Augusta, it is important that they are properly investigated, and that is why I welcome this decision by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“It is only through robust, impartial investigation that we can truly establish what happened at the time and ensure any mistakes are not repeated.”

The review found that Agoglia’s killer remains unpunished and that Manchester City Council, which the report said was witness to “multiple threats, sexual assaults, and serious sexual exploitation”, did nothing to prevent her death.

Despite Operation Augusta identifying more than 57 victims of child sexual exploitation and 97 potential suspects, “very few” offenders were brought to justice.

Former GMP detective turned whistleblower on the operation, Maggie Oliver, previously called for senior officers responsible for the failings to be prosecuted.

“I want the law changing so there can be retrospective accountability for people whose duty it is to protect the vulnerable.

“It’s knowing and deliberate neglection of duty… [those who were involved] should be charged with gross misconduct — it’s criminal — where is the accountability?” Oliver said.

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