Nottinghamshire Police says it is determined to conduct a ‘thorough investigation’ following reports that historical abuse at children’s homes was ignored by the force.
National reports printed today, Thursday 19th February, suggests that the police failed to properly investigate allegations of sexual abuse.
But Supt Helen Chamberlain, head of public protection, said: “Nottinghamshire Police is determined to conduct thorough investigations in relation to the allegations made about abuse at a number of children’s homes in Nottinghamshire over a number of decades.
“Policies, processes and partnership working have improved significantly in recent years and it is clear that had these allegations happened today, swift action would have been taken.
“We have been working closely with partners and local safeguarding boards to ensure our arrangements for investigating offences and caring for victims are as effective as they can be.”
She said the force has commissioned and been subject to a number of independent reviews into our criminal investigation through the College of Policing, Leicestershire Police, and Operation Yewtree.
She added: “We are actively working with local authorities to build a chronology of the development of child protection services to identify the circumstances where offences occurred and ensure that subsequent changes would prevent such offending.
“While detailed and complex enquiries are ongoing, we are working with colleagues in the health service to develop appropriate health pathways for victims of non-recent abuse.
“While a great deal is being done to coordinate victim care, investigations and service improvements, we have advised partners that some elements of our review process should be carried out at the conclusion of the police investigation.
“This is because we and our colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service are concerned not to undermine investigations and potential prosecutions by disclosing witness and victim accounts, and other information pertinent to the police investigation.”
“The complexities of investigations such as this should not be underestimated. We are investigating reports of abuse from more than 120 people, some of whom have only limited information about their abusers.
“We have found that more than 30 years on, much of the information recorded at the time has been destroyed, while some suspects have died before they could be arrested or interviewed.
“Speaking to witnesses can also result in the need to carry out additional inquiries into unconnected offences. This does make the investigation more difficult, but we have made a number of arrests since the inquiry began and are doing all we can to support the victims and help them to get justice.”
Police have received more than 100 complaints of abuse since starting to investigate the homes in 2010.
But one social worker told the BBC that reports she made in the 1990s were not believed because of the children’s backgrounds.