You would imagine that if there had been one lesson learnt by the police over the last 5 months since the Jimmy Savile revelations became public, it would be that they need to look at paedophilia as a wider national problem and tackle it with a broader holistic approach. In fact, the last official report published by HMIC seemed to explicitly point out that the fractured perspectives of the regional police authorities was in part to blame for the failure on the part of the police to identify Jimmy Savile as a predatory paedophile.
Different police forces held individual pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and there was no national system to enable a central police organisation to pull all those pieces together and form the bigger picture. Savile, of course, is just the big high profile example. When it comes to policing the sexual abuse of children in the UK over the last 50 years it would seem that the authorities failed utterly to anticipate that child abusers might move around the country, leaving behind them any suspicion one regional police force might have and starting afresh in a different part of the country.
But surely that has changed, right ?
Well, you’d have thought so wouldn’t you? Right now there are several police operations investigating child abuse and as far as I’m aware, Operation Yewtree is the only one without geographical restrictions. (I’m happy to be corrected on this)
As an example, let’s look at Operation Pallial. Operation Pallial is investigating abuse in North Wales but you’d imagine that if they were presented with conclusive evidence that there was a very real connection between abuse in North Wales and abuse that took place at the same time just across the English border then they would have the foresight and operational latitude to include that in their investigations.
You might think that but you’d be wrong. As was clearly demonstrated in this article ‘Bryn Alyn Community (Holdings) Ltd’ there is a very obvious and clear connection between the child abuse that took place in the Wrexham area and that which took place at Cotsbrook Hall, just across the English border in Telford, Shropshire. The connection being that all those Children’s Homes were owned by the same company, and one of the directors of that company, John Allen, was convicted of child abuse.
The Operation Pallial police were made aware of this weeks ago so you would have thought with all the ‘lessons learnt’ they would have incorporated allegations of child abuse from Cotsbrook Hall under the Operation Pallial umbrella, right ?
Operation Pallial seems restricted to North Wales exclusively. As far as Operation Pallial is concerned the line on a map that divides Wales from England is a limiting factor in their investigations.
Child abuse is a national, even international problem and the sooner the police tackle it in an appropriate inclusive manner the quicker they will get to the bottom of it.
These piecemeal investigations will not enable the police to get a grip on the situation and as a consequence, victims from the past will not receive justice, and children today, right now, will be put in danger.
Please also read Emma’s submission to The Macur Review- Here