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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Investigation Report

Police investigations

26. The remit of this Inquiry investigation is different from that of Operation Clifton in that our primary consideration is not whether the institutional responses to child sexual abuse provide evidence of criminality, but rather the appropriateness, quality and effectiveness of those responses. We have, however, considered throughout this investigation whether there is any evidence that any individual member of the organisations concerned inappropriately concealed information about the abuse of children who resided at Knowl View or who were allegedly sexually abused by Cyril Smith.

27. We concluded that the police did not turn a blind eye to the sexual exploitation of boys in Rochdale town centre. Such records that are available suggest that the police knew children were being exploited in the town’s public toilets but did not obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute. There is evidence of a willingness on the part of police officers to investigate. The records that survive do not, however, provide any satisfactory answer as to why, despite some disclosures on the part of boys and despite knowing the names of some men, police do not appear to have charged anyone with the sexual abuse of Knowl View boys in Rochdale town centre. Police officers did, though, pass information to Social Services and Knowl View.

28. Child sexual exploitation was dealt with in isolation by the police as and when it was detected. From the records we have seen, child sexual exploitation featured far less prominently than the Hilton incident.

29. The paucity of detailed information in the Mellor report was such that it was unlikely to have prompted a police investigation, while a more thorough report might have initiated a fuller response from the police.

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