Sykes reassured by police commitment over child sexual exploitation review

In advance of the publication of an independent review into allegations of historic child sexual exploitation in Oldham, the Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, wrote recently to Greater Manchester Police seeking assurances that they ‘will act without fear or favour to reassure the public and bring all offenders to justice’.

In November 2019, Oldham Council and the Oldham Safeguarding Partnership commissioned the independent review from the Mayor of Greater Manchester.  Two experienced investigators, Malcolm Newsam MBE, a childcare expert, and Gary Ridgeway, formerly a senior police officer specialising in public protection, were appointed to head up the review team and they are now working to finalise their report.

In his letter, Councillor Sykes was keen to impress upon Assistant Chief Constable Mabs Hussain MBE that Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Councillors were seeking an assurance that no-one with possible crimes to answer for would escape prosecution ‘regardless of any status or position in life they hold’.  This includes prominent public figures, including any elected members.

Greater Manchester Police has already established Operation Hexagon under the command of Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey to work with the review into the historic allegations.  In his response, Assistant Chief Constable Hussain reassured Councillor Sykes that ‘any matters which are disclosed as part of the independent review are being progressed by Greater Manchester Police prior to any formal publication’ and this has included some evidence being ‘placed before the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration’.

Commenting, Councillor Sykes said:  “Child sexual abuse in all of its forms is totally abhorrent and both I and my Liberal Democrat Councillor colleagues are determined to ensure that anyone with a case to answer for does so, whatever their political situation or social station.

“I fully appreciate that Assistant Chief Constable Hussain must be guarded in his public comments in order not to compromise the integrity of any future prosecutions or the outcome of the review, but, reading between the lines, I am reassured that ACC Bailey and his police team at Operation Hexagon stand ready to bring any offenders to book.”

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