Statement following publication of Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse at Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques:

We welcome the publication of today’s report and thank Professor Jay and the inquiry panel for the opportunity to appear before them.

First and foremost our thoughts remain with any victim of child sexual abuse past or present and we will continue to seek justice for them, without fear or favour and regardless of the status of any alleged offender.

Lancashire Constabulary was responsible for policing Rochdale between 1969 and 1974. In October 1969 an investigation commenced into allegations that Cyril Smith had sexually abused a number of child residents of Cambridge House Hostel of which he was a trustee.

This investigation was described by the barrister acting for those making the allegations as “exemplary, thorough, fearless in the face of threats, intimidation and obstruction by Cyril Smith and his political allies,” and in her view was “characterised by an enlightened understanding of the dynamics of the power/vulnerability imbalance which silences victims.”

The inquiry similarly concludes in today’s report that the investigation was “a thorough and searching examination of the allegations against him (Smith)” and that at no point were the police improperly influenced by Smith or others. In fact the report stresses that the officers involved were “plain in their view that Smith ought to be prosecuted”.

It was the director of public prosecutions who took a contrary view.

This hopefully should put an end to years of rumour and speculation that our investigation was anything other than professional and competent.

The investigating officers acted in the highest traditions of Lancashire Constabulary and I remain proud of their actions and those of all our officers who continue today to protect the most vulnerable in society. Lancashire Constabulary and the police service generally will continue to work with all relevant partners to learn and improve our collective response to any allegation of child sexual abuse.

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