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Operation Pallial five years on – investigation phase ‘now moving towards conclusion’

Operation Pallial, the independent NCA investigation into allegations of past abuse in the care system of North Wales, began in November 2012 at the request of Mark Polin, the Chief Constable of North Wales Police

To date there have been nine convictions, including care home owner John Allen who was sentenced to life in prison in December 2014.

In the five years the operation has been running, 365 people have made contact with the NCA team. Investigations into the evidence provided by 250 of them have concluded and details provided by 42 complainants are either with the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration of charges, or are part of active investigations.

In 73 instances, the complainant has either been unable, or has declined, to pursue their allegation.

The offences reported occurred between 1953 and 1995, with victims ranging from six to 19 years old at the time.

The investigation has identified 143 suspected offenders, the majority in respect of sexual offending against boys. Of these suspects, 23 have been arrested to date, 39 have been interviewed under caution following voluntary attendance, and 41 suspects are believed to have died.

So far, 18 suspects have been charged, of which matters have concluded against 16.

Nine people have been convicted for a total of 75 separate sexual offences. Eight of these offenders received a total of 56 ½ years’ imprisonment, the other individual, John Allen, received a number of life sentences.

Three suspects are currently within the criminal justice system, with two trials planned for the first half of 2018 and an initial court appearance due in late November 2017. The Crown Prosecution Service is considering a number of other evidential files which may lead to further prosecutions in 2018.

A number of individuals have been raised to suspect status and remain under investigation.

Graham Gardner, Deputy Director of Investigations for the NCA, said: “Operational Pallial is delivering an independent, victim-focused investigation based on the needs of those who have come forward to report abuse in the North Wales care system. The investigation phase is now moving towards conclusion, with court proceedings expected over the next 18 months to ensure that matters of past abuse are properly examined and suspects are held to account.”

Chief Constable Mark Polin said: “Operation Pallial has worked closely with North Wales Police, other partners and agencies to deliver advice and support to victims of past abuse and to investigate crimes.

“I would like to thank the NCA for the thorough and professional investigation they have conducted over the past five years.

“The victims in each case have waited a long time for justice. It has not been an easy journey from them and it has taken courage to stand by their convictions.

“Nothing anyone can do now will change the past, but I can assure people that the way in which we now investigate sexual abuse, the investment which goes in to it and the significance it is given is considerably different to how it was in the past.”

Any member of the public wishing to report new allegations of past abuse in the care system in North Wales should call North Wales Police on 101.

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