Damning report published into how young victims of sexual abuse were failed by Greater Manchester Police

A damning 145-page report was released on 14 January 2020 revealing how police and local authorities had failed dozens of young victims suspected of being groomed, raped and sexually abused by gangs of men in the city of Manchester and around the Rochdale area.

Following the tragic death of a 15-year-old girl in 2004, where she had been injected with heroin by a 50-year-old man, Operation Augusta was launched by Greater Manchester Police to investigate child sexual exploitation. Disappointingly, the investigation was prematurely shut down in July 2005 due to supposed lack of resources.

The young victims that were sexually abused have had to wait 15 years for an acknowledgment that they had been failed. The inquiry was initially opened following the allegations made by former Greater Manchester Police detective, Margaret (Maggie) Oliver. She has stated in interviews this week to various publications that Greater Manchester Police had spent years trying to cover up its failures. In a press conference that took place shortly after publication, Maggie said:

“They should be put in front of a court of law in the same way I would be if I failed to investigate a criminal damage. These rapes were never recorded and that is a failure. And it isn’t a mistake, it was a deliberate and intentional desire to bury the truth.”

It has been reported that the matter has been passed to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which will assess whether there are any conduct matters that require independent investigation. We hope that the IOPC conducts a full and candid investigation into the failings of GMP so that the victims can finally achieve a sense of justice and accountability.

The report itself, which can be found here, stated that:

“There was significant information held by both Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police on individuals who potentially posed a risk to children, but we can offer no assurance that appropriate action was taken to address the risks they presented to children. There were very few criminal justice outcomes resulting from Operation Augusta. Fundamentally, Operation Augusta failed to meet the original objective of tackling the widespread and serious sexual exploitation of looked after children.”

Saunders Law has long acted for the families of the Hillsborough victims in a civil claim against the police that arises from evidence of a systemic cover-up intended to transfer the blame for what happened on the day of the disaster from South Yorkshire Police and their officers to the innocent, by spreading lies, doctoring evidence, pressurising witnesses and suppressing the truth.

It is not hard to see how the parallels can be drawn here. Not only have these victims been let down by the authorities that are responsible for keeping them safe but the authorities have acted to try and preserve their own reputations and have sought to suppress their failings, inflicting further untold harm on those who have already suffered. We have acted in various historic sexual abuse claims as well as claims against the police arising in negligence due to the mishandling of investigations and failures to investigate by the police and understand the desire to obtain accountability.

Civil Actions Specialist Legal Advice

At Saunders Law, we offer expert legal assistance and representation in civil claims against the police and against other government authorities, including for negligence, false imprisonment, assault, malicious prosecution, misfeasance in public office and under the Human Rights Act.

We can also assist you in making a complaint against the officers involved. We’re well-known for actions against the police and other state authorities, and take a thorough and determined approach to cases, working hard to ensure that you obtain the appropriate level of damages and above all, we will do our utmost to achieve accountability for the wrong you have suffered. All of our solicitors within the Civil Liberties and Actions against the Police Department have extensive experience in this area.

For a free, no-obligation, initial discussion to see if we might be able to help, please contact us on 0207 632 4300 or make an enquiry online.


    How can we help?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can

    We have partnered with Law Share from JMW Solicitors LLP to refer instructions and clients to them, when we are unable to act. By answering yes to this question, you agree that we may pass your details on to Law Share in such circumstances. You are under no obligation to instruct JMW Solicitors LLP after being referred. We may receive a payment from JMW Solicitors LLP further to this referral.