In the Media

ACPO comment on historic sex abuse investigations

PUBLISHED April 29, 2013

ACPO lead on violence and public protection Chief Constable Dave Whatton said:

''Those people who bravely come forward to report sexual abuse they suffered as children live with the consequences daily. We owe it to victims to do all we can bring offenders to justice and provide victims with some form of closure. We also owe it to the public to do our utmost to protect them from dangerous offenders.

"The police service and criminal justice system is already implementing lessons learnt from Operations Yewtree and Pallial and other child sexual abuse cases. ACPO is currently working jointly with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the College of Policing on a fundamental review of investigative guidance on child sex offences that will be released for public consultation at the end of May. It aims to deliver truly practical guidance to police officers and prosecutors. Work is already underway in the College of Policing to develop and implement training as a result of the guidance review.

"To inform the review and explore how the victim's journey through the Criminal Justice System can be improved, the Director of Public Prosecutions and I have held a number of public roundtable discussions with representatives of victims, statutory bodies, 3rd sector support organisations, frontline investigators, the judiciary, lawyers and other interested parties.

"In addition, chief constables have agreed to the formation of national panels to review past allegations of child sex abuse. These panels will look at cases that have previously been investigated by the police or reviewed by the CPS and a decision to take no further action was made but the perpetrator may still pose a risk. We will communicate to forces how that process will work by the end of May. Many forces and CPS offices are already actively reviewing previous decisions.

"While there are challenges, the police service has the power to investigate allegations that happened some time ago and it is still possible to bring prosecutions. I want to urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse at any point in their lives to report it to the police so that we can hold offenders to account. We will work with our partners in the criminal justice system and third sector to support you through the process."