‘Successful year’ for specialist CSE Unit says ‘most improved’ police force in country

Screenshot 2022-12-17 at 10.00.47

In a short statement released earlier this week, Greater Manchester Police say their commitment to bring the perpetrators of non-recent child sexual exploitation to justice is stronger than ever, as investigations under the codenames Operation Green Jacket and Operation Bridgewater, gather momentum.

Two days ago, (15th December, 2022), detectives from the Force CSE Unit in the Serious Crime Division at GMP, yesterday arrested a 35yo man from Reddish Road, Reddish, in connection with the rape of a girl under the age of 16 and in relation to administering a substance with the intention to injure and aggrieve.

Another man, aged 39, of no fixed abode, handed himself in later on in the day, and was arrested under suspicion of Section 18 assault and rape of a child aged between 13 and 15 years-old – all offences which are believed to have taken place in or around 2007.

These latest arrests carried out by the Force CSE unit, who are solely dedicated to investigating non-recent CSE cases, takes the total number of men arrested by the Unit for non-recent serious sexual offences against girls under the age of 16 in 2022, to 18.

Operation Green Jacket was launched in 2017, after Greater Manchester’s mayor, Andy Burnham, ordered a review into the effectiveness of multi-agency responses to CSE throughout Greater Manchester. And since then there has been a total of 31 arrests under Op Green Jacket and a further 13 under Op Bridgewater.

Manchester City Council has been supporting Operation Green Jacket with considerable staff time dedicated to working closely with GMP, and the continue to rigorously review relevant documents to ensure no stone is left unturned.

Two other major non-recent operations within the Force CSE Unit include the recently launched Operation Sherwood, which covers offences carried out in Oldham between 2011 and 2014, and Operation Lytton in Rochdale, which focuses on the perpetrators of offences spanning from 2002 to 2006 – which was actually launched before the Mayor’s review began.

Operation Lytton is already seeing results, and in 2023 the CSE Unit will be taking a group of eight defendants to trial, collectively charged with 82 offences, including rape, sexual activity with a child, causing a child to engage in sexual activity and gross indecency, among others.

As the number of investigations increase, so does the Force CSE team as the team looks to increase the numbers of officers and staff from 85 to 106 in the new year, such is the commitment to bringing more offenders to justice.

Detective Superintendent Dave Kehoe, who heads up GMP’s CSE Unit said: “Yesterday’s arrests are just further examples of the excellent investigative work the team is doing in pursuing perpetrators and getting justice for the victims of CSE, regardless of the number of years that have passed.

“These investigations are extremely complex and rely on the victims and as such, we are eternally grateful to the many women who have come forward to ensure we are successful in identifying, arresting and charging these individuals.

“It is extremely distressing for them to re-live the events they lived through as children, which has shaped the rest of their lives – and their bravery has to be commended.

“Since the inception of Operation Green Jacket, we have worked closely with local councils to deliver a succinct multi-agency response. Our arrests this year shows the journey we are going on, and just because these crimes were committed years ago, does not mean that you will evade justice.

“We have many active ongoing investigations with the aim of delivering more positive action throughout 2023.”

Paul Marshall, Strategic Director for Children’s Services at Manchester City Council, said: “Operation Green Jacket is a compelling example of how the whole approach to tackling child sexual exploitation has been significantly strengthened, with Greater Manchester Police and the Council working together to protect children and pursue offenders.

“I commend the work which is taking place to secure justice for victims of CSE and ensure that offenders, including in non-recent cases such as those being investigated through Operation Green Jacket are brought to justice.”

Oldham Council has been approached for comment in relation to Operation Sherwood, headed by ACC Sarah Jackson, and the work of its cross-party review team.

Could you spot a child who is at risk of CSE or CCE?

Spot the signs of child exploitation: Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late; skipping school or being disruptive in class; appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that can’t be accounted for; experiencing health problems that may indicate a sexually transmitted infection; having mood swings and changes in temperament; using drugs and/or alcohol; displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour, such as over-familiarity with strangers, dressing in a sexualised manner or sending sexualised images by mobile phone (“sexting”); increasing their screen time or showing unusual use of online platforms, such as websites, social media, apps or games; they may also show signs of unexplained physical harm, such as bruising and cigarette burns.

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police, or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.

– Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.

– Greater Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email help@manchesterrapecrisis.co.uk

– Survivors Manchester provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.

Page last updated Monday 5th December, 2022 at 0750hrs

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Picture credits: GMP

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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