Notts police responds to Operation Daybreak criticism

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Nottinghamshire Police has promised it is conducting a thorough investigation into allegations of historical abuses at a number of county children’s homes.

The force issued a statement on Operation Daybreak, investigating historical care home abuses around the county amid national reports that police “failed to investigate” cases.

A former social worker told the BBC that children were not listened to because of their backgrounds.

She said: “The difficulty that we had was that the residential staff would deny it. They would provide alibis for each other.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, who served as a social worker in the 1970s, said: “Historically, victims haven’t been listened to enough,”

In Nottinghamshirem, police are investigating allegations from 120 people from as far back as over 30 years ago.

Supt Helen Chamberlain, head of public protection, said: “Nottinghamshire Police is determined to conduct thorough investigations in relation to the allegations made about abuse at a number of children’s homes in Nottinghamshire over a number of decades.

“Policies, processes and partnership working have improved significantly in recent years and it is clear that had these allegations happened today, swift action would have been taken.

“We have been working closely with partners and local safeguarding boards to ensure our arrangements for investigating offences and caring for victims are as effective as they can be.

Officers said that in order to ensure they are delivering the best possible service to victims in these complex enquiries, the force has commissioned and been subject to a number of independent reviews into our criminal investigation through the College of Policing, Leicestershire Police, and Operation Yewtree.

Ms Chamberlain added: “We have supported and contributed to resourcing of a national operation to coordinate all historical abuse investigations - Operation Hydrant.

“We are actively working with Local Authorities to build a chronology of the development of child protection services to identify the circumstances where offences occurred and ensure that subsequent changes would prevent such offending.

“While detailed and complex enquiries are ongoing, we are working with colleagues in the Health service to develop appropriate health pathways for victims of non-recent abuse.

“The complexities of investigations such as this should not be underestimated. We are investigating reports of abuse from more than 120 people, some of whom have only limited information about their abusers.

“We have found that more than 30 years on, much of the information recorded at the time has been destroyed, while some suspects have died before they could be arrested or interviewed.

“Speaking to witnesses can also result in the need to carry out additional inquiries into unconnected offences. This does make the investigation more difficult, but we have made a number of arrests since the inquiry began and are doing all we can to support the victims and help them to get justice.”

Operation Daybreak is described as “one of the largest” investigations undertaken by the force, involving 12 homes around Nottinghamshire and resulting in 11 arrests so far.