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Rochdale whistleblower Maggie Oliver on her new charity and how grooming gangs are still abusing girls today
From the Telegraph. Her book has been out about 2 weeks - it's not just about the Grooming gang abuse but it all sounds interesting. I'll buy and read it in due course. Meanwhile from her interview with Julie Bindle something which I had not seen before stands out.
She is telling her side of the story in a new book, Survivors, which zeroes-in on policing failures in bringing the perpetrators to justice. Oliver recounts, with justifiable outrage, how those failures came not from lack of resources or expertise, but prejudice towards the victims, many of whom were as young as 13.
“They were written off as slags,” she says. “Senior officers were far more concerned with keeping the lid on the shocking levels of child sexual abuse than they were about the girls.”
It was in 2004 that GMP (Greater Manchester Police) became aware of allegations about the grooming of predominantly white girls by gangs in the market town (Rochdale). Oliver had been recruited to Operation Augusta, an investigation in them, which began later that year.
Yet, despite the fact that a list of over 200 suspects had been compiled, it was abandoned. One suspect identified by a victim turned out to be a serving police officer. Oliver was told by another officer responsible for investigating corruption to “leave it to us”. “I never heard what, if anything, happened to him,” she says.
In the summer of 2005, Operation Augusta was completely shut down and Oliver discovered that the last entry in its files was on the evening of July 6 – the night before the 7/7 terrorist attack in London.
“I’m certain that an order was given at the very highest level,” she says, “that to reveal the extent of child grooming of white girls by Muslim men at that point would be akin to adding petrol to an already inflammatory situation.”
Shockingly, it was reported last month that at least two of the men convicted in 2012 have been released from prison and are back living in Rochdale - despite losing a Court of Appeal case last year to avoid being stripped of their UK citizenship. One woman who was abused as a teenager is said to have wet herself with fright on bumping into her perpetrator in the street. Another, according to Oliver, spat in his victim’s face.
“It was the police and the authorities that caused pain, more than the abusers. They should hang their heads in shame. If your 14-year-old daughter was being raped on a daily basis by a gang, would you say it was OK not to prosecute those men for rape?”