18 February 2014
Operation Pallial, a National Crime Agency (NCA) led investigation into recent allegations of historical abuse in the care system in North Wales, has so far identified 37 people who are being investigated as suspects.
Ian Mulcahey, Senior Investigating Officer, provided an update on progress to members of a Strategic Coordinating Group, comprising the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Social Services, Victim Support and other charities, earlier this month.
“The number of people coming forward to report historical allegations of abuse in the care system in North Wales continues to increase. Up to February 8 2014, a total of 255 people have reported one or more allegations to us.
“Information given to us by 212 people is under active investigation at this time and has resulted in 37 people being identified as potential suspects,” he said.
“Of these, 19 suspects have been arrested and interviewed, three more have voluntarily attended police stations for interview under caution and 12 are believed to have died. Efforts to locate three others, one of whom may be abroad, are ongoing. To date, the CPS has charged one person with a large number of sexual offences,” said Mr Mulcahey.
Operation Pallial has been provided with more than 120 names or partial details of individuals suspected of being responsible for physical or sexual abuse and work continues to identify these individuals. There are, potentially, 61 repeat offenders within this number, of whom around 17 may be deceased, but this information requires further investigation for the information to be confirmed or excluded.
Operation Pallial began in November 2012 at the request of Mark Polin, Chief Constable of North Wales Police. It currently has a team of 26 officers working on the investigation based at the NCA’s North West Hub near Warrington. The investigation is being supported by colleagues in Social Services and charities, some of who are based within the Incident Room.
“It is reassuring to know that individuals have had the confidence to come forward and we will fully investigate all information they are able to provide. In cases where people have contacted us but have declined to support further enquiries we will still ensure they receive any advice and support they need,” said Mr Mulcahey.
Offences under investigation are believed to have been committed between 1953 and 1995 on boys, girls and young adults aged between six and 19 years old. A total of 28 care homes in North Wales currently feature in the investigation.
The National Crime Agency led investigation is supported by officers and staff from police forces across England, particularly from forces in the North West Region of England.
The cost of phase two of the investigation, which is being met by the Home Office to avoid any impact on local policing in North Wales, is currently £727,000 (May 2013 – November 2013).
The investigation has already been independently reviewed to ensure that it remains focused and efficient. The investigation meets with partner agencies on a monthly basis to share information and ensure it remains victim focused.
Public Contact Information
Operation Pallial public telephone number (Incident Room): 0800 118 1199.
Telephone: 0808 800 5000
Children’s Commissioner for Wales
Freephone: 0808 801 1000 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri except Bank Holidays)
Text: 80800 starting the message with COM.
Telephone: 0845 303 0900
NCA Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command
Telephone: 0870 000 3344