Out with the old – what about the new

At this week’s [27/06/22] meeting of full Council, GM Mayor Andy Burnham said that former Chief Constable Ian Hopkins was replaced because of a lack of progress in providing information to the CSE inquiry in Oldham. 

This contradicts the statements put out at the time that he had resigned because of the police being put into special measures. 

It also fails to address the subsequent 11-month gap between his resignation and ANY information being provided to the CSE inquiry, and fails to explain why information was only provided on one of the 11 cases under review – with that one showing serious failures on the part of GMP.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Sam Al-Hamdani said: “This is an absolute failure.

“GMP has been warned about failing victims of domestic abuse repeatedly – in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021. For it to refuse to provide information on to this review is shocking.

“Given that it is already in special measures, a judicial review is possibly the only course left open to investigate the police force and the failure of the Mayor to ensure it provided evidence to the enquiry.”

This was not the only question left unanswered at the Council meeting. Six questions from Liberal Democrat group leader Howard Sykes MBE were left completely unanswered, and over the course of three and a half hours, little if anything was learnt about what was happening after the review. 

Councillor Sykes said: “The lack of any clear and direction from the Council leadership was the one thing that was obvious from the meeting. 

“We got no explanation as to why half the people listed in the report had not been interviewed; no answer as to what action was going to be taken to identify and address members of staff and police who were involved in the cases; no answer as to why the police failed to provide so much information; no answer as to why the Council’s story as to what happened to Sophie’s evidence contradicted other accounts. It’s not good enough.”

Councillor Mark Kenyon added: “These were simply the top line questions – and the meeting was closed before many could be asked. We have nearly 50 detailed enquiries which we are submitting to the Council on the specifics in the report.

“Given what we saw at the meeting, I would be surprised if we got clear answers. But clear, honest answers are what is desperately needed.”

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