Five men have today (Thursday 17 August 2023) been convicted of non-recent child sexual exploitation offences in Rochdale, following the brave victims’ and survivors’ testimonies.
The two victims and survivors were teenage girls when they were subjected to horrific abuse between 2002 and 2006.
The offenders will be sentenced at a later date.
Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Jackson said: “These convictions are a testament to the true resilience of the victims and survivors who, thankfully, felt able to trust Greater Manchester Police, and have the confidence in the criminal justice system to support prosecutions. They demonstrated such bravery in testifying against these offenders on their journey to justice.
“This result is long-awaited – we are truly thankful to the victims and survivors for their continued patience and engagement, as we followed due process to ensure sound prosecutions. We understand that CSE can often have a lifelong impact on those affected – as such, specialist services will continue to provide them with care for as long as they need.”
Today’s convictions are the first led by GMP’s Child Sexual Exploitation Major Investigation Team (formerly the Force CSE Unit). CSE MIT was established in 2021 and is dedicated to investigating the most serious and complex cases across Greater Manchester, whilst supporting investigations led by district-based officers. It is made up of police officers and staff who are specially trained to work with partner agencies to effectively identify and engage with victims, ensure safeguarding action is taken, locate and trace suspects, and gather evidence for presentation to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The result follows an eight-year investigation and the first of five ‘cohorts’ of charges under Operation Lytton. Lytton follows three previous operations, also focussing on non-recent CSE in Rochdale, which resulted in the convictions of 36 offenders in 2012 and 2015.
ACC Sarah Jackson added: “These convictions are also a significant milestone on our continuing journey to improve investigations into non-recent child sexual exploitation across Greater Manchester. Whilst we have had every confidence in the operating model of the CSE MIT team since its launch in 2021, we know those to whom we are accountable have been keen to see further judicial outcomes.
“Victims, survivors and members of the public have continued assurance that, whilst investigations into non-recent CSE are complex and can take some time, GMP and Rochdale Council are ready to respond, and that the victim-led, suspect-focussed approach, taken in this case and others, yields results in terms of justice for victims, survivors, offenders, and communities.”
Sharon Hubber, Rochdale Borough Council’s director of children’s services, said: “These were sickening crimes committed against two vulnerable young girls, whose strength and determination was instrumental in bringing this case forward.
“Operation Lytton, launched in 2015, is part of continuing efforts between ourselves, the police and other partner organisations to identify and prosecute as many perpetrators of non-recent child sexual abuse as possible, while supporting victims and survivors.
“We remain committed to that work and will continue to give our support where it is needed. As an organisation, we have made huge changes to the way we support children who are at risk of, or who are victims of, sexual exploitation.
“The service which is delivered today to support these children is very different to the service which was delivered in the past. This includes an even stronger emphasis on the child, which is supported by a dedicated multi agency team with specialist skills. A recent Ofsted inspection highlighted that children and young people subject to child sexual exploitation receive an effective service from our multi-agency team.”