Maggie Oliver angered after second watchdog assessment fails to determine which top policeman shutdown the child sex grooming probe in Manchester

Police whistleblower Maggie Oliver, who was involved in Operation Augusta, was outraged over the IOPC outcome. 

An inquiry into a south Manchester child sex grooming gang was put on hold by a senior policeman, but a second watchdog assessment has failed to determine which officer did it or why. 

At least 57 youngsters and young girls, many of whom were under care, were raped and abused by up to 100 members of an Asian male gang 18 years ago. 

Two years ago, a devastating assessment ordered by Mayor Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester concluded that it was impossible to determine which senior officer terminated Operation Augusta. Now it has come to light that the police watchdog, despite its own two-year investigation, was unable to determine their identities. 

Maggie Oliver, a police whistleblower who participated in Op Augusta, said: “Paedophiles were allowed to continue to abuse young girls for years. That’s not acceptable in my opinion.”

Major Brand Discounts

According to the mayor’s investigation, police and social workers were aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. The victims were sexually abused, groomed, and hooked on drugs. 

One of them, 15-year-old Victoria Agoglia, had a heroin injection under duress. The study showed that social workers were aware of what was being done to her but did nothing. Two months later, she passed away. 

The mayor’s report also proved that the inquiry was put on hold after a high-level GMP decision. On April 22, 2005, top authorities announced the closure of the child sex ring. Later that day, a “gold” meeting with senior council members and police officers sealed the closure.

The authors said, “We believe, from the evidence that we have seen, that the decision to close down Operation Augusta was driven by the decision by senior officers to remove the resources from the investigation rather than a sound understanding that all lines of enquiry had been successfully completed or exhausted.”

The crucial decision—that the operation would end on July 1, 2005—was made in meetings, but those meetings’ minutes have not been lost. 

Four important senior police officers were mentioned in the mayor’s report, and they were later identified in a report by the Manchester Evening News. They are: Dave Jones, a retired chief constable of North Yorkshire Police, who oversaw GMP’s CID at the time; Sir Dave Thompson, the current chief constable of West Midlands Police, who oversaw GMP’s city centre division at the time; and Tony Cook, a high-ranking official at the National Crime Agency who served as the detective superintendent and senior 

Greater Manchester Police sent three senior officers to the Independent Office for Police Conduct for an inquiry as a result of the mayor’s report. On Thursday, the watchdog announced the end of its inquiry into the trio and acknowledged that, like the mayoral probe, it had been unable to determine which senior officer had made the decision or why. 

The three officers in question, according to the M.E.N., are Dave Jones, Steve Heywood, and Tony Cook. Only Cook was able to provide his notes from the important sessions. According to what is known, Dave Thompson, the head of West Midlands Police, was not reported to the IOPC. 

A “significant amount of evidence from witnesses, including officers who had worked on the operation and senior social services employees,” according to the watchdog, was evaluated during its “independent investigation,” which started in August 2020.

“Despite significant efforts, we were unable to determine who took the final decision to close Operation Augusta in July 2005, nor the rationale for doing so,” said the IOPC.

The watchdog noted the “lack of records of meetings and decisions taken at the time” and that “some former GMP-employed police witnesses were either unable or unwilling to engage with our investigation.” Although no specific police officers were mentioned by name, the mayoral review found that all officers, with the exception of Dave Jones, complied with the inquiry’s demands for information.

Continuing, The IOPC said: “Following a review in May 2022 of the substantial amount of evidence gathered, we determined there was no indication any of the three former officers had acted in a way that may have breached the standards of professional behaviour. As this meant there was no legal basis to continue the investigation, it was discontinued on 20 July.”

Director of Major Investigations for the watchdog, Steve Noonan, stated: “The findings of the mayoral report caused understandable concern and it was important for our investigation into the resourcing and decision-making behind Operation Augusta to be both thorough and independent of the police.

“We gathered and reviewed a significant amount of evidence, which helped us understand some of the actions taken back then. While we found evidence that arrangements were put in place for the future safeguarding of survivors of child sexual exploitation, unfortunately, we – like the mayoral review team – were not able to locate evidence showing who took the decision to close Operation Augusta and, more importantly, why.

“We have identified several areas of potential learning for GMP to consider and now await further information on how practices have changed since 2005, which will inform our decision on whether to issue any statutory recommendations.”

When police whistleblower Maggie Oliver returned from her holiday, she was shocked to see that Op Augusta had been cancelled. The IOPC interviewed her. 

She said to the M.E.N.”I never expected this to lead to anything. It was clear to me that they would never pin responsibility on any serving surviving officer. The fact is paedophiles were allowed to continue to abuse young girls for years. That’s not acceptable in my opinion.”

She went on: “But the establishment protects the establishment. Things have changed in one way. People now know that there are cover-ups.”

Mike Todd, who was the chief constable at the conclusion of Operation Augusta, was discovered dead in 2008 not far from Snowdon’s peak in north Wales. Source

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