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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Investigation Report

Police Investigations

1. The preceding parts of this report have demonstrated how Lancashire Police were involved in responding to the allegations made about Cyril Smith in 1969 and that, far from constituting any sort of cover-up of Smith’s activities, their investigation was a thorough and searching examination of the allegations against him. The police officers who submitted reports on the investigation were plain in their view that Smith ought to be prosecuted. It was the Director of Public Prosecutions who took a contrary view.

2. The purpose of this part is to consider the role of the police thereafter. Is there any evidence that police officers were party to the suppression of evidence against Cyril Smith after the Lancashire investigation? More broadly, did police officers fail in their duties to protect pupils at Knowl View School from sexual abuse?

3. There are two points to make clear about this part. The first is that we are not considering the actions of police outside the Rochdale area. This investigation is limited to considering police actions in Rochdale or in respect of children who resided in Rochdale in residential accommodation like Knowl View. As regards Cyril Smith, this investigation is concerned with the police investigation of him in respect of conduct alleged to have taken place in Rochdale. It is not within the remit of this particular investigation to consider allegations against Smith alleged to have occurred elsewhere (for example, in his capacity as a Member of Parliament). The second is that Lancashire Constabulary ceased to have responsibility for the policing of Rochdale in April 1974, and thereafter it became part of the area covered by Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

4. Another point that must be borne in mind is that there are very few surviving police records about the investigation of child sexual exploitation at Smith Street toilets or investigations relating to Knowl View up to the early 1990s. This has impacted on our ability to analyse the actions that the police took in respect of the exploitation of children in Rochdale town centre from the late 1980s to 1994 and the outcome of any investigations that took place.[1][2] What information there is has been gleaned from Rochdale Council records from the time, which refer, for example, to surveillance having taken place, or to social workers having contact with police officers.

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