Essex Police

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Essex Police apologises over 30 child abuse investigations

Published February 11, 2015 by JS2

Nick Alston

PCC Nick Alston said officers had been accused of “a lack of honesty or integrity”

A police force has apologised to alleged child abuse victims after it found problems with 30 investigations involving 59 children.

One police officer has been suspended and 11 others have been put on restrictive duties by Essex Police.

Some cases are said to involve a “lack of honesty or integrity” by officers.

Deputy Chief Constable Derek Benson said: “If individuals have failed in their duties then they will be held to account.”

The force said 28 cases had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which was already reviewing two other investigations.

Most of the cases relate to the work of the child abuse investigation team covering the north of Essex.

Mr Benson said: “We have contacted the families of those involved in these investigations to let them know what is happening and apologise for the undoubted distress.

“We will also look at the possible aspects of why this has happened.”

Mr Benson said an experienced retired detective had been brought in to review the “live” investigations being conducted in the north of the force area.

He said the alleged victims included some very young children.

Nic Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh had ordered an “urgent review” late last year after concerns were raised about the quality of investigations.

‘Lack of integrity’

“This work led Essex Police to refer a number of cases to the IPCC, to suspend one officer and place another 11 officers on restricted duties,” he said.

“The IPCC has announced that it is conducting two independent investigations and a managed investigation of referrals relating to the handling of 28 child abuse investigations which were reported to Essex Police between April 2011 and November 2014.

“These cases involve 59 victims. Some of those investigations involve allegations of a lack of honesty or integrity by officers.”

Essex Assistant Chief Constable Derek Benson
Derek Benson said new officers had taken over the investigations under review

Some of the investigations which have been referred to the IPCC are based on allegations of historical abuse, dating to the 1960s and 1970s.

The IPCC says its investigation will look into whether officers failed to:

  • consider the safeguarding of children
  • progress investigations properly, including not arresting suspects and delays
  • refer cases to the Crown Prosecution Service

BBC news

Mary Cunneen, IPCC Commissioner for Essex, said: “Child abuse ruins people’s lives, so it is important police get these investigations right and victims feel confident their cases will be properly handled.

“It is vital our investigations are able to establish what happened in the north child abuse investigations team investigations, and why.”

Essex Police headquartersThe IPCC was already reviewing two other investigations from the same team

The IPCC said it was already investigating the conduct of five officers from the north child abuse investigations team following referrals from Essex police last August and October.

These concern an allegation that a police officer fraudulently signed a complainant’s signature, and how officers responded to reports a girl was allegedly the victim of child sexual exploitation.

A helpline has been set up for anyone who feels concerned about child abuse investigations carried out by Essex Police. The number is 01245 282103.

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Essex Police referred to IPCC over deputy head paedophile investigation

Published November 13, 2014 by JS2

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 12.00.44

Essex Police is to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over allegations they failed to act on information over child sex abuse images.

It relates to former deputy head of Southend school Thorpe Hall, Martin Goldberg, for failing to properly investigate for more than a year evidence he have been a paedophile.

The 46-year-old killed himself in September a day after being confronted by police over videos of naked boys he had bought online.

Following his death, it emerged he had been filming and photographing dozens of boys in the changing rooms of the fee-paying school using a camera hidden in a rucksack.

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Essex police were told about concerns about Goldberg by the National Crime Agency in November 2013 which itself had been tipped off in July 2012 by Canadian police investigating customers of a Canadian website selling videos of child abuse.

On September 30, the IPCC received a referral from Essex Police relating to the force’s delay in responding to the information provided by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in November 2013.

The information led to the force’s contact with Martin Goldberg prior to his death. The IPCC also received a number of complaints from individuals affected by the case.

The force made referrals to the IPCC in relation to intelligence they received from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). After careful assessment they will now be independently investigated.

IPCC deputy chairman Sarah Green said: “There is rightly considerable public concern about how police forces deal with sexual offences involving children.

“The IPCC takes this issue seriously and proactively contacted the force and asked them to review their handling of intelligence to determine the scale of any issues.

“Our investigations will examine carefully how intelligence from CEOP was dealt with by these three forces.”