How many witnesses does it take to get a conviction?
Obviously, it varies, but I’m guessing if I were asking a policeman that question he’d probably tell me that you simply can’t have too many witnesses.
There is a reason for me pointing this out. At some time in the future, it could be a year from now or even two years, but at some time Operation Fairbank and the historic abuse operations that have arisen from it will become inactive (investigations technically never close). Now, that certainly isn’t going to happen before the trials of the three people already charged and, if there are more arrests, the date will get pushed back, but it will happen at some point.
The Metropolitan Police’s Paedophile Unit has around 25 police officers and eight of those are working on Operation Fairbank-related historic investigations. They’ve not had any increase in resources over this last year despite the widely reported increase in victims coming forward nationally and their primary focus must always be to intervene in cases where a child is in danger right now. I don’t believe anyone, regardless of how passionate they are about seeing justice for those making historic allegations, would question that the protection of children today, right now, must always be their priority.
It is simply naive to think that The Met are going to keep a dedicated team, one third of the Paedophile Unit, looking at historic allegations indefinitely.
So, this really is it. Operation Fairbank exists to try to bring to justice those who may have escaped it for the past 40 years. I cannot foresee that there will ever be a dedicated Met police operation looking at these matters quite like this one ever again.
What I’m trying to get around to saying is this; if you are a witness with information that can help, or a victim of abuse related to Elm Guest House or have any allegation of a similar nature which relates to a VIP, whether that is an MP, member of the House of Lords, or anyone in a position of authority then if you do not contact Operation Fairbank/Fernbridge/Cayacos with that information while these investigations are still active, it will be far harder to get justice afterwards.
I’m acutely aware that there may be victims of child sexual abuse who have moved on with their lives, they may be married and perhaps their spouses are unaware of what happened to them as a child. They may read The Needle and they may be hoping that the person that abused them will receive the justice that they know that person deserves but they are unwilling to come forward themselves. To these people I would say that I’m confident any communication you have with this dedicated team would be treated with delicacy and respect for your current situation. It may well be that you could provide the final piece of the jigsaw that sees the person who abused you put behind bars.
It may be that a victim of child sexual abuse feels that previous trouble with the law means that the police will not take them seriously. To these people I want to say that I can assure you that that is not the case. You will be listened to and accorded the same courtesy as anyone else.
It may be that you are a vital witness or that you possess crucial evidence, or that you have information that Operation Fairbank need to complete the picture. To these people I want to say, please do not assume that someone else is going to provide that information. Please step forward and help.
To help you in this I’m going to supply the Operation Fairbank telephone number- 0207 1610500
I’ve had this number since the beginning of the year. I’ve only passed it on to two others in that time and I’ve only called it myself twice. If you ring that number you will be asked to leave a message and someone will call you back. On the couple of occasions I’ve called a very nice female detective, whose name I will not make public, has called me back. Please be aware that this team are very busy but they will call you back.
Here is the telephone number for Operation Fairbank again – 0207 1610500
If you are a victim, a witness, or someone with vital information please give that number a call.
One note of caution, the police don’t need your theories or your speculation, please do not call them unless you really do have valuable information.
Now, I know that not everyone feels comfortable talking to the police and so I want to give two other telephone numbers. Both NAPAC and the NSPCC are recommended contacts if you feel you can not contact the police directly, or if you wish to talk to someone in confidence before talking to the police.
NAPAC provides the only national freephone support line for adults who have suffered any type of abuse in childhood. Because of the large volume of calls we are sorry that many people are unable to get through. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to call you back which also means that any answerphone messages cannot be answered.
Call 0800 085 3330 for free from landlines, 3, EE, Vodafone and Virgin mobile phones.
Call 0808 801 0331 for free from O2, EE and Vodafone mobile phones.
Telephone support line opening hours:
Email support – Please send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org