Essex Police Commissioner Praises Whistleblowers Who Reported Alleged Child Abuse 'Cover-Up'
Tues 8th March 2016, Yellow Advertiser
"ONE of the most challenging things I've had to deal with."
Those were the words police commissioner Nick Alston used to describe revelations that child sex victims in Essex may have been ignored.
But in an exclusive interview with the YA yesterday, Mr Alston said the announcement of a formal investigation felt like a 'huge step' forward.
Acting on information provided by three whistleblowers, police will investigate claims that a child abuse probe in Shoeburyness in the late 1980s failed to pursue named suspects or pay proper attention to dozens of child victims.
Police will also investigate two reports penned by child abuse and social care experts in the 1990s, which detailed allegations that Essex social care workers had failed to properly tackle abuse and in some cases had been actively involved in offences against children.
The whistleblowers claim police and civil servants failed to act on the reports.
The allegations came to police's attention when the YA was contacted by Mr Jamieson and arranged for him to meet Mr Alston, whose job is to hold Essex Police to account.
Mr Alston said: "That was a very compelling and powerful session for me as we sat with Robin – to hear his, I thought, remarkably balanced account. He has got a passion for trying to get the right outcomes.
"It was a very simply articulated concern that those people who should have been listened to weren't, and didn't get support from their organisations – and indeed, got their organisations turning against them. His concern for those people, his concern for the victims, kind of shone through all of this."
After the meeting, Mr Alston arranged for Mr Jamieson to meet with Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh. Mr West and Ms Grinsted also attended.
Mr Alston said: "There was no hint from any of these people of wanting to 'get at', for any personal reason, what they clearly regard as those who were covering up or failing to deal properly with these issues. There was no vindictiveness about it. It was a concern for the victims and for the professionals who were left unsupported."
Mr Alston praised the YA for bringing the allegations to his attention and assisting the police investigation.
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