For clarity the previous statement was from the police commissioner.
The decision not to prosecute a man suspected of sexually abusing vulnerable children who were resident in Leicestershire care homes in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s has been criticised by Leicestershire Police.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has today announced that, despite sufficient evidence gathered over two years, it would not be in the public interest to bring charges against the alleged offender who is now in his 80s.
Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister of Leicestershire Police, who has overseen the investigation, said he believed the decision was “the wrong one” and it would do little to support and encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward.
He said: “Thanks primarily to the courage of 25 victims who have made a complaint and the complete professionalism of the investigation team, we have built a case that the DPP has acknowledged is the result of a thorough investigation, evidentially sufficient and gives rise to a realistic chance of conviction.
“There is credible evidence that this man carried out some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable over three decades against children who were highly vulnerable and the majority of whom were in care.
“I am extremely worried about the impact the decision not to prosecute him will have on those people, and more widely I am worried about the message this decision sends out to others , both past and present, who have suffered and are suffering sexual abuse.
“We are exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge this decision and victims themselves have a right to review under a CPS procedure.”
The investigation, codenamed Operation Enamel, traced 25 people who allege that they were sexually abused by the man who held a position of authority in Leicester. Legal reasons prevent the force from naming him.
During the course of the investigation, more than 2,000 individuals were seen and 442 statements taken. Detectives pursued more than 2,700 lines of enquiry, and seized/created nearly 600 exhibits including cine film and videos.
On July 24th last year, the senior investigating officer submitted a comprehensive file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service seeking advice as to a prosecution. In November, a further note was submitted to the CPS from Lead Counsel – a senior barrister, representing the investigation – specifically addressing why a prosecution was in the public interest.
In total, more than 6,000 pages of case file material have been supplied to the CPS.
Last week, as a result of contact from the DPP, the Chief Constable submitted a further, detailed document setting out why he felt it was firmly in the interests of the victims and the public to bring a prosecution.
ACC Bannister said: “Throughout this investigation, we and other partners have done everything we reasonably can to support the victims and to encourage them to explain what happened to them all those years ago. For the victims, this process has been traumatic, having to relive appalling events from their childhood which have scarred their adult lives. For some experienced investigators, it has been utterly harrowing listening to their accounts.
“Despite the decision of the DPP, our determination to seek justice for those who have been abused as children, particularly by those who have used their “status” to facilitate such crimes, remains undeterred. This man is not the only individual being investigated by Operation Enamel and our determination to bring others to justice is undaunted. The circumstances of this decision are very specific and I would still urge other victims to come forward. There is considerable support available from charities and other organisations. “
Support available from various agencies
NSPCC The NSPCC is working in partnership with Leicestershire Police to ensure that support is in place for any person who is involved in this investigation and would like to seek support.
The NSPCC Helpline is a free, 24-hour service staffed by professionals from a range of backgrounds, who have experience of responding to adults who are worried about a child, or who have experienced or witnessed abuse themselves. Advisors are available to talk through any feelings, worries, or concerns that you may have, or to share information with other agencies on your behalf, whenever you feel the need.
The NSPCC understands how experiencing or witnessing abuse can affect someone at all stages of their life, and how difficult it can be to speak up or seek support as an adult.
The Helpline can be contacted by telephone on 0808 800 5000, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 88858. The service is free to contact and available 24-hours-a-day, so if you feel that you’d like to speak to someone, you can choose when and how you contact the service. Advisors will share information that is relevant to the investigation, or to the current well-being of a child, with Leicestershire Police, but you can contact the Helpline anonymously if you do not wish to disclose who you are. Advisors will be able to listen to you, to talk through how you’re feeling, and to help you to think about the options that are available to you in terms of accessing longer-term support.
First Step is for male survivors of sexual abuse and their supporters. It offers free confidential face-to-face counselling sessions with trained counsellors. By contacting ‘Cas’ she will ensure you are provided with prompt support.
Cas’s mobile number: 07581 568144 (you can text Cas to request a call back – let her know when would be a good time. She only needs your first name and a number)
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) This charity was set up by survivors for survivors and anyone who supports them.
NAPAC provides a free support phone line. The times are on their website as well as other useful information and support. This might suit your needs if you don’t want to speak to someone face-to-face. Website: http://www.napac.org.uk. Phone: 0800 085 3330