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Rochdale whistleblower Maggie Oliver on her new charity and how grooming gangs are still abusing girls today

Rochdale whistleblower Maggie Oliver on her new charity and how grooming gangs are still abusing girls today

Country: 
United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 
21/07/2019
Lancastrian
Summary: 

It was in 2004 that GMP became aware of allegations about the grooming of predominantly white girls by gangs in the market town. Oliver had been recruited to Operation Augusta, an investigation in them, which began later that year. Yet, despite the fact that a list of over 200 suspects had been compiled, it was abandoned. One suspect identified by a victim turned out to be a serving police officer. Oliver was told by another officer responsible for investigating corruption to “leave it to us”. “I never heard what, if anything, happened to him,” she says. 

In the summer of 2005, Operation Augusta was completely shut down and Oliver discovered that the last entry in its files was on the evening of July 6 – the night before the 7/7 terrorist attack in London. 

“I’m certain that an order was given at the very highest level,” she says, “that to reveal the extent of child grooming of white girls by Muslim men at that point would be akin to adding petrol to an already inflammatory situation.” What she told me rang true. In 2007, my own investigation - the first piece in a national newspaper on the topic - was published. Immediately, I was contacted by other parents of victims, begging me to investigate further.

“This change in attitude was coming from the top. We were getting phone calls from the Home Office,” says Oliver. “My firm opinion is that there was an attempt to conceal the real magnitude of this kind of crime.”