Police are using the same old, same old, tactics to continue the cover-up of Predatory pedophiles with whom they are involved in the profitable criminal child porn industry. Only now it will not wash.
Now the public are aware that the Police are the ones behind the cover-up which could not have continued without them. Victims want those still living who actually took part in the abuse to be prosecuted. They also want those who were and are involved in the conspiracy to sexually abuse children on an industrial scale.
Cyril Smith's victims don't want police platitudes, they want his accomplices put behind bars
Abuse: Cyril Smith's accomplices must be made to face the law before, like Smith himself, death allows them to escape scot free
Cyril Smith staged many a PR stunt over the years, so it was grimly ironic that yesterday’s press conference, at his former stomping ground of Rochdale Town Hall, had several hallmarks of an old-fashioned media circus.
Addressing a sea of reporters, Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, announced that his detectives have identified ‘ten or 11 suspects’ who may have conspired with the late Liberal MP to sexually abuse boys at a nearby special school.
They are also, apparently, considering whether my recent revelations about how Rochdale Council responded to credible reports of a paedophile ring operating at the school in the Eighties and Nineties ‘justifies a criminal investigation into allegations of a cover-up’.
Clearly, Sir Peter would like us to believe that his force is well on top of this rapidly-unfolding scandal, and that it intends to stop at nothing to bring those responsible for aiding and abetting Cyril Smith’s appalling crimes to justice.
But what do his carefully-worded comments actually amount to?
Call me a cynic, but until I see actions, rather than words, I will take them with a pinch of salt. The victims of Cyril Smith, many of whom I have been in personal contact with, will certainly gain very little comfort from learning that Sir Peter’s detectives may soon launch an ‘investigation’ into ‘allegations’ about their terrible ordeal.
One thing, and one thing alone, will give them any sense of justice. And that will be the successful prosecution of the men who helped Smith abuse them.
Make no mistake: the identities of many of these men have long been known to the police. They must be made to face the law before, like Smith himself, death allows them to escape scot free.
Now give us a full public inquiry into Smith abuse: MP who blew whistle says police probe does not go far enough
11 new suspects and independent review into how paedophile Liberal MP Cyril Smith’s sex abuse was 'swept under the carpet in cover-up involving MI5'
The victims don’t want words, they want arrests. They don’t want grandstanding press conferences, they want these paedophiles off the streets and behind bars. Will the investigation so publicly trumpeted yesterday ensure that the victims get their day in court? On current form, I don’t feel very optimistic.
Sir Peter’s detectives have now been investigating Smith for 18 months. But so far as I am aware, not one of their supposed suspects has even been called in for questioning, let alone charged with any crime.
Meanwhile, several of the victims who have taken the brave and difficult decision to speak to detectives (I believe there are six, so far) have felt ignored.
Probe: One day, perhaps, a government will do the right thing, and hold a full public inquiry into how the crimes of Smith were covered-up on a national scale
Their mood is perhaps best summed up by a man who phoned me just a few weeks ago, asking: ‘What has happened with this investigation?’
He added: ‘I have given the police the name of the man who abused me, but nothing has happened. The police haven’t contacted me in months. As far as I’m aware, they haven’t spoken to him, and are doing nothing. And I don’t want this guy to get away with it.’
He, like so many of Smith’s victims, has waited an extraordinary length of time to see his abusers brought to book.
Yet, even now, he struggles to be taken seriously.
While it may be just over a fortnight since the Mail began to serialise my book investigating Smith’s career-long sexual abuse of young boys, the Manchester police have been in possession of compelling evidence against Smith and his fellow abusers for far, far longer.
Indeed, it was back in November 2012 when I stood up in Parliament and publicly exposed what many in Rochdale had known for years: that their town’s high-profile former MP was a lifelong, predatory paedophile.
Days later, I met Greater Manchester Police detectives at their headquarters in Newton Heath and handed over a dossier of evidence detailing his crimes.
It included a copy of a 1992 Rochdale Council report, stretching to roughly 40 pages, detailing how boys as young as eight had been subjected to extreme sexual abuse at Knowl View school by men travelling from as far away as Leeds and Sheffield.
Not long afterwards, I put one of Smith’s victims in touch with detectives. His name was Chris Marshall, and he told a gut-wrenching tale of how he had been dragged from his bed in the middle of the night and forced to perform a sex act on the 29st MP.
Given the horrific and very high-profile nature of Smith’s crimes, not to mention the level of evidence about the way they were covered up, I expected the police investigation to swiftly yield fruit.
But I was sorely disappointed. Instead, as press coverage of the scandal caused by my statement in the Commons died down, the inquiry appeared to be quietly placed on the back burner. As recently as January this year, I attempted to schedule a meeting with the Greater Manchester Police for an update on the progress of their investigation.
The officer in charge refused to talk to me, saying I needed to speak to Annette Anderson, Rochdale’s Divisional Commander. She wouldn’t meet me either, but promised to ‘find someone else’ who would.
Needless to say, she never did.
It was only this month, after my book on Cyril Smith was serialised by the Mail, that Manchester police appeared finally to regain a serious interest in the case. It’s shocking, on the face of it, for this to have taken so long.
Uncovered: Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk blew the whistle on Sir Cyril's four decades of child abuse
The police’s dismissive treatment of me is important, because it speaks volumes for the attitude of inscrutability that still pervades the British Establishment.
After all, if an MP like me struggles to get a case this important taken seriously by the authorities, what chance might the often traumatised and highly vulnerable victims of people such as Cyril Smith have?
It is, of course, this same attitude that allowed Smith to get away with his crimes for almost four decades, despite allegations about his behaviour being widely known in Westminster during that time.
As my book reveals, police received more than 140 complaints about him over the years. He was repeatedly arrested — and let off — for ‘cottaging’ with young boys in public toilets. And he was once caught with a stash of child pornography in his car boot.
Though the Establishment of the day was aware of at least some of his crimes, he was able to evade prosecution throughout his life.
And nowhere was his criminal behaviour more studiously ignored than in Parliament.
As Des Wilson — a former Liberal Party president — wrote in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday, he felt that when faced with rumours of Smith’s crimes the party’s leadership ‘got the biggest spade they could find, dug the biggest hole in the sand they could manage, and buried their collective heads in it’.
Today, some 25 years later, my frustrating experience attempting to get the police to take a serious interest in Smith perhaps illustrates how instinctively the authorities still attempt to protect their own.
One of the key problems here is that the police themselves were at the heart of the cover-up that they are now charged with investigating.
Again and again in my book, I reveal how senior police officers thwarted attempts to expose Smith — to the frustrated fury of their own rank and file, who knew he was guilty and yearned to see him in the dock.
Prompt: It was only this month, after Mr Danczuk's book on Cyril Smith was serialised by the Mail, that Manchester police appeared finally to regain a serious interest in the case
I am also very worried by the narrow, local focus of the proposed investigation. If anything has become clear about this sordid affair, it is that Smith’s sphere of influence stretched far beyond Rochdale. I believe he was part of a VIP paedophile ring that was active in London and other parts of the country, with protectors at the highest level of the Establishment.
Hopefully that Establishment edifice is starting to crack. Manchester police have finally pledged to take Smith’s crimes seriously — and I and others intend to make sure they see it through. Meanwhile, forces in other parts of the country have contacted me seeking evidence in other historic child sex investigations.
One day, perhaps, a government will do the right thing, and hold a full public inquiry into how the crimes of Smith — and other high-profile child abusers like him — were covered-up on a national scale. Perhaps then the full truth might emerge about this story of terrible depravity.