The story of Maggie Oliver, a former Detective Constable with Greater Manchester Police (GMP), who resigned in 2013 over concerns about what she saw as unfair treatment of one of the victims in the original Rochdale Islamic Rape Gang investigation, is well known. It has been told in greater detail elsewhere, such as in the Manchester Evening News. In essence, Ms Oliver resigned from the police because she believed the victims of the Islamic Rape Gangs were being failed by GMP. Ms Oliver has also claimed that Greater Manchester Police had no excuse for dragging their feet over the Rochdale cases or claiming that they were ignorant of Islamic sex crimes. She said this because she had been part of Operation Augusta, which targeted investigative resources at sex crimes occurring the heavily Islamic area of Rushholme in Manchester. She said that the GMP did not ‘learn any lessons’ from Operation Augusta and that was reflected in problems surrounding the original Rochdale Islamic Rape Gang enquiry. She claimed that the police were seemingly corrupt and could not be bothered with dealing with these crimes.
Ms Oliver has also that the culture of not taking responsibility for the errors in dealing with the Islamic Rape Gang problem went ‘right to the top’. Ms Oliver also claimed that the Home Office had asked for daily updates on Operation Span which was the name given to the operation to catch and prosecute the Islamic Rape Gang of Rochdale, which Ms Oliver joined in 2010. Ms Oliver claims that the authorities including the police were more interested in covering up the mistakes made by officers, than seeking justice for the abused victims. This request by the Home Office for daily updates on Operation Span caught my eye and the questions it raises for me is who asked for these updates and why?
This is what Ms Oliver told the Manchester Evening News:
“I spent the next year knocking on every door in GMP. I went to the chief constable and the IPCC but they wouldn’t speak to me. Nobody wanted to know. I felt it was corrupt and so I resigned so I could speak out in public. If you think about the Hillsborough scandal, it took 30 years for the lies of senior police officers to be exposed. I believe it’s the same with the grooming scandal. People make mistakes. If you hold your hands up and admit to them, that’s human. But I wasn’t seeing that. I was seeing senior officers in the force letting these girls down. They turned a blind eye.
“In fact I believe this goes right to the top of government. I know that the Home Office was getting daily updates about Operation Span. They are more interested in covering up for mistakes instead of holding their hands up. Operation Span, the resumed investigation, was held up as some kind of shining light about how these investigations should be run. It was far from it. Basics like recording each allegation of rape weren’t being done.
Of course we know what happened after the Rochdale enquiry and that was that the police looked after the police as they always do. However, the matter of Home Office involvement, as alleged by Ms Oliver, needs looking into a little more closely.
Firstly we need to look at the reason why the Home Office may be asking for daily updates. This may be something completely routine and innocent where major crimes, especially crimes that are novel or unusual start to come out, or where the Home Office wants to keep a closer eye on certain police forces. It would be interesting to know whether daily updates on other major police operations are also requested by the Home Office in areas such as cybercrime, anti-terror operations or some other type of crime? However, if we take a far more cynical view of the actions of the Home Office, these requests could be being made so that both a political arse-covering response could be made at the correct time by Ministers, or so that public anger and protest about these terrible crimes could be ‘managed’ and possibly neutralised? Daily updates being demanded by the Home Office of a police force on an ongoing investigation looks very much to me the HO taking a keen interest for some reason.
At best the daily update requests could be part of Home Office tactics to better control and manage an errant police force, although these updates and closer Home Office scrutiny do not seem to have stopped GMP failing to carry out proper police practice, such as recording each and every rape allegation brought to them. At worst the daily data requests could be part of a scheme to cover up the full extent of the Islamic Rape Gang problems that Britain suffers from.
So, there are questions related to why the Home Office requested daily updates on Operation Span and now we need to wonder from whom or from what level in the Home Office’s labyrinthine structure did this request come? When considering these questions a glance at the structure of the Home Office as of 2011 may be both interesting and instructive (see attached document below).
At what level of civil service or political authority could an order of this sort be made, an order that compelled a police force to supply daily updates on a police operation? Does Ms Oliver’s allegation of ‘right to the top’ mean that the Home Secretary at the time, Theresa May, gave the order for the daily updates? I must admit that if I was a minister and agencies under my authority were suspected of screwing up in the way that GMP did, then I’d want to know what the hell was going on, both so that I could better manage the situation and to avoid any political ambush down the line.
Alternatively, was this order given by the Permanent Secretary or by members of the Senior Civil Service in the Home Office? Could the order have come from Home Office Board level, possibly from the Director General of the Home Office’s ‘Crime and Policing Unit’? Could the order have come from the Home Office Director of Crime or was it an instruction from the Head of Local Policing Crime and Justice Unit? We don’t know but it would be good to know.
Could this instruction even have come from a more junior member of Home Office staff such as one of the Grade 7’s or possibly one of the Higher and Senior Executive Officers who work for the Head of the Local Policing, Crime and Justice Unit? This could be the case, but I believe it unlikely that much more junior members of staff, such as an Administrative Officer or an Executive Officer, could have the authority to issue such an order and expect it to be obeyed.
If Ms Oliver’s testimony is correct and that the Home Office did order GMP to supply daily updates on the progress of Operation Span, then we are still left with the questions: who asked for this and why and what was done with this data? If it was being asked for because the police were screwing up, then why does there not appear to be more pressure being put on the police by the Home Office to sharpen up their acts for example in the way they recorded the rape allegations brought to them? There is a miasma of murkiness that surrounds this order for updates which gives me a feeling of unease that I cannot shake.
Assuming that it was not Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary, who asked for the daily updates means we have to turn our attention to the civil servants who may have given this order. Who are they? What is their political cultural, religious and educational background? Were they ‘holdovers’ from the previous Labour regime ‘yes men’ and ‘yes women’ appointed by the civil service under the influence of Labour ministers who often favoured a bureaucratic ‘top down’ approach to governance? Could it even be a former Labour ‘special adviser’ who had joined the civil service? In my opinion, the proliferation, under Labour, of politically motivated ‘special advisers’ and the blurring of the lines between these ‘special advisers’ and career Civil Servants has had bad effects on governance. This could include civil servants telling Labour Ministers what they wished to hear because this was a route for advancement. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that civil servants with left wing, pro-multiculturalist or even Islamist sympathies, who are engaged in governmental activities that involve the gathering and interpreting of data regarding Islamic Rape Gangs could be in some way a bit bent. Departments who have within them civil servants who are sympathetic to Islamic causes is not something that is entirely unknown as we have the example of the Department of Communities and Local Government which funds and supports various Islamic groups including some quite notorious grievance mongers such as the Tell Mama group.
It is a matter of great concern if the political, religious or cultural sympathies of career civil servants are affecting the advice given to Ministers and also affecting the formulation of policy. If it is the case that the Home Office has such people working within it, and affecting policy,then the Home Office civil servants have gone partial and indeed rogue. The Home Office could be one great swamp just crying out to be drained, but whether it will happen or not, it will take a minister with much more backbone than the current occupant of this great office of state, Ms Amber Rudd.
This matter of the issue of Islamic Rape Gangs and how they are being tackled is one that just cries out for more transparency on the part of the Home Office. I understand that not every department of government can, or even should be completely transparent. For example matters of national security and international trade and relations can sometimes come into the categories of things that should more often be shielded from the public gaze than not. But the subject of Islamic Rape Gangs should not be so classified. The public deserves to know exactly what is being done to tackle this problem and not get fobbed off by nice, but most likely empty, words from senior police officers or platitudes from ministers.
The issue of the close observation by the Home Office of the GMP and of Operation Span, the reason behind this order and the name or at least the grade of the civil servant who gave this order, is shrouded in mystery and requires some explanation from the Home Office. This is not a national security matter, nor is it a matter that could affect international trade or relations, this is a matter of policing the nation and it is at heart a question about whether are we being policed equitably and efficiently. It is also about whether the civil service is acting ethically and impartially. There are answers that are required to the questions that have been raised by Ms Oliver’s allegations about the Home Office. Over to you Ms Rudd and the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office.
MEN article on the ‘Three Girls’ BBC series
Civil Service grade structure. As you will be able to see the Home Office still has a pyramid structure with a large number of people at SEO and grade 6 and 7 level
Home Office structure details dated October 2010
Dishonest grievance mongers still funded by the DCLG