Advance publicity for that report on the sexual exploitation of children in Greater Manchester suggested that it might expose another scandal as great as Rotherham. Between January and September this year, it revealed, Manchester police had compiled 9,789 reports on "missing children", of which 4,520 concerned "children looked after by the local authority". But when we saw the report, by Ann Coffey, the Labour MP, it proved to be strangely thin. Certainly there were more harrowing accounts of teenage girls describing how they had been appallingly abused, and how the police had ignored their pleas for protection. But one soon became aware of a glaring hole in Ms Coffey's account.

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