News breaking

Operation Pallial into North Wales Child Abuse is investigating information received from 105 victims, some containing new allegations of historic child abuse in North Wales.

Channel 4 News has reported that it has learned that the investigation is limited to the North Wales area and related allegations located over the border in Cheshire are considered outside its terms of reference.

The full statement as issued by SOCA and North Wales Police is below:

An independent investigation set up to examine specific recent allegations of historic child abuse in North Wales has received information from 105 victims since beginning work in November.

Operation Pallial, led by Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency, will assess all information recently received and review relevant historic police investigations into such matters before conducting fresh inquiries as necessary.

Victims have either contacted Operation Pallial directly, or have agreed to have their details forwarded by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) or Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

Detective Superintendent Ian Mulcahey, from Merseyside Police, Senior Investigating Officer for Operational Pallial said “Operation Pallial is investigating new allegations of historic child abuse, some from victims previously known about and some from victims who have come forward for the first time. All victims of abuse have a right to expect all allegations of abuse, no matter how much time has passed, to be investigated professionally and appropriately. We will do so.  

Equally importantly, if offenders are still alive they must be identified, investigated and brought to justice, with those who still have access to children being prioritised.”

Operation Pallial is being conducted by a full-time team of 27 experienced police officers and staff, drawn primarily from police forces in the North West of England, supported by members of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and others as appropriate.

Victims now live throughout England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, in 22 police force areas outside of North Wales. Detective Superintendent Mulcahey stated that the investigation would ‘follow the evidence without fear or favour’.

A shared concern of North Wales Police, Operational Pallial, local authorities, the Children’s Commissioner and many others is to ensure that appropriate support is provided to all victims and witnesses. The investigation will be victim focused and their on-going welfare will be at the forefront of any investigative decisions made.

Operation Pallial will provide initial reports and recommendations to Mark Polin, Chief Constable of North Wales, in April 2013, copied to the Home Secretary. A summary of information will also be made public at this time.

Operation Pallial has clear terms of reference, published by the Home Secretary and will be as open as possible, while protecting the rights of victims and any future criminal proceedings that may follow.

Operation Pallial has already made contact with Macur Review, which is conducting a review of the Waterhouse Inquiry, to ensure that these two separate enquiries into matters in North Wales can both progress efficiently and effectively in parallel.”

Contact details for members of the public have been published on the Serious Organised Crime Agency website at: http://www.soca.gov.uk/news/495-operation-pallial-soca-supports-investigation-into-recent-allegations-of-historic-abuse

The Incident Room telephone number is: 0800 118 1199, or people can email: Operation.Pallial@nthwales.police.uk

The site also provides contact information for organisations able to provide advice and support to victims of child abuse.

 

Terms of Reference 

The investigation’s terms of reference can be found on the SOCA.gov.uk site and are:

Phase 1. Examine specific, recent allegations made in relation to historic abuse in care in North Wales:

i. assess any information recently received in relation to abuse allegations;
ii. review the historic police investigations into such matters;
iii. in light of the above, to provide the Chief Constable of North Wales Police, copied to the Home Secretary, an initial report, by end April 2013, identifying and making recommendations for consequential action and further directions to deliver the terms of reference.
Phase 2

i. If the need is identified, investigate those allegations and where necessary take appropriate action.

They also state “This review/investigation will not cover any new allegations of abuse which are unconnected to the investigations in relation to the historic abuse in care in North Wales. Any such new allegations will remain the operational responsibility of the Chief Constable of North Wales.”

 

We reported last week that our FOI to gain a copy, and further information on the Jillings Report was still ongoing – story here.