Wednesday, 1 April 2015

UK police arrest officers in pedophile probe

 UK police have arrested two former officers on suspicion of physical and sexual assaults at a children’s prison in Consett, County Durham, North-East England.

The 69 and 58 year-old men were arrested as part of a long-running investigation in to historic sex abuse at the Medomsley Detention Centre.

The horrific abuse stretches back to the 1970’s and 80’s and victims have had decades long struggles for justice.

Police arrest two former officers in continued investigation in to Medomsley children’s prison where 1,123 men say they were abused

Teenage victims have spoken of being raped on and off the prison premises, sometimes being taken to other locations by police officers to be raped by other men.

One victim, Kevin Young says then police officer, Neville Husband would take him to his house, tie him up, blind fold him and then three men would rape him. It was sustained abuse that continued for the next two months. Kevin had been convicted of receiving stolen property; a watch his brother had given him as a present.

On the day of his release, on the 17th June 1977, Young went to Consett Police Station to report what had happened. He was told it was a criminal offence to make such allegations against an officer.

It wasn't until 26 years later, in 2003 that Neville Husband was brought to justice. By then a church minister, he was jailed for eight years; a sentence that was increased in 2005 after new victims came forward.

Husband died in September 2010 shortly after being released from prison. He had raped boys on a daily basis for more than 15 years, while other staff allegedly turned a blind eye.

The media attention on the case led police to launch Operation Seabrook in 2013. Police now say that 1,123 men have contacted them to report they were victims of either sexual or physical assault while imprisoned at Medomsley.

In an explosive development, last year, police revealed there was growing evidence to suggest an organised paedophile ring was operating at the prison.

The latest arrests are in connection to the Operation Seabrook investigation. 16 former employees had been identified by police for questioning. 14 voluntarily attended, but the two in question were arrested.

The two men have now been released on bail. Police say they will be questioning at least a dozen more former employees of the prison.


Police question 16 over Medomsley Dentention Centre abuse claims

Police investigating historic sexual and physical abuse at a detention centre say they have spoken to 16 former members of staff after more than 1,000 alleged victims came forward.

Operation Seabrook was launched by Durham Police to investigate abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre, which closed in 1988.

Detainees, often sent there for relatively minor offences, typically spent six to eight weeks at the Home Office-run centre before being released.

Since the operation's launch in August 2013, 1,123 men have contacted the force alleging they were victims of either sexual or physical assaults at the borstal.

Previous investigations in 2003 and 2005 led to the jailing of former members of staff Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, who have since died.

In November 2014 police began the process of interviewing ex-members of staff, with 16 of them who are still alive being spoken to.

Two of the 16, now aged 69 and 58, were arrested and questioned before being released on police bail. Both were detained on suspicion of physical and sexual assaults on Medomsley inmates.

Det Supt Paul Goundry said: "Our initial priority was to gain a full understanding of how Medomsley Detention Centre operated during that time. We also needed to make counselling and professional support available to anyone who needed help, and I am really pleased that over 250 victims have taken up this offer.

"In the last few months a key objective has been to identify and then trace a number of former staff so we could speak to them about the allegations. As part of our enquiries, we established several had since died.

"The first phase of the interview process has now been completed with our initial 16 and we will be discussing the results of these with the CPS in the near future.

"There are also further interviews we need to carry out with other staff, including former governors of Medomsley. This work will continue over the coming months.


Sex abuse claims: 16 staff questioned in Medomsley Detention Centre

SIXTEEN former North East detention centre staff have been questioned in relation to an inquiry into historical sexual and physical abuse.

A total of 1,123 men have contacted Durham Constabulary’s Operation Seabrook to say they were victims of assaults after the investigation was launched in August 2013.

Medomsley Detention centre, near Consett, took teenagers, including those from Wearside and County Durham, for minor offences.

Those who have contacted police were there for minor offences during the 1960s to when it closed in 1988.

Previous investigations in 2003 and 2005 led to the conviction and jailing of Neville Husband and Leslie Johnson, former staff who have since died.

Of those who have come forward, about one-third say they were sexually assaulted by one of them.

All of the 16 ex-staff spoken to, the majority voluntary at police stations, two – aged 69 and 58 – were arrested on suspicion of physical and sexual assaults before being released on bail.

Efforts are under way to trace and interview at least a dozen more former workers.


Crime levels unchanged in Co Durham and Darlington despite rise in reported violence

Large falls in vehicle crime, burglaries and criminal damage have helped Durham Constabulary keep recorded crime at a similar level as the previous year, despite a significant number of historical sexual and physical assaults being logged.

32,953 offences offences were reported to Durham Constabulary from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015.
+0.99% rise compared to the previous 12 months, when
 32,751 were recorded.

This figure comes in the face of a significant number of historical sexual and physical assaults that are part of the ongoing Operation Seabrook investigation being included.

Operation Seabrook, the largest of its kind in the UK, includes the investigation looking into allegations of abuse at the former Medomsley Detention Centre.

+14% Rise in reported sexual offences. 
+27% Rise in reports of violence against the person. 
While the rise in sexual offences is generally regarded as a sign more victims are prepared to come forward, report the crime and seek help from the authorities, police say the surge in this category, and also violent offences is largely due to changes in recording practices.

Last year a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) into the integrity of crime recording found major variations across forces in terms of how certain offences were categorised.
-3% in reported criminal damage and arson. 
-8% in reported burglaries. 
-31% in reported theft from a motor vehicle. 
The PCC Ron Hogg has said: “I would like to congratulate Durham Constabulary on an excellent year despite these challenging times.”