Sunday 23rd June 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

NYP Officers Investigated re: Child Abuse (Pt. 2)

NYP Officers Investigated re: Child Abuse (Pt. 2) 

by TIM HICKS

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Introduction

In my article NYP Officers Investigated re: Child Abuse (Part 1), I revealed that Cleveland Police are investigating Officers from North Yorkshire Police (NYP) in connection with allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse at Kirklevington Detention Centre (KDC) near Yarm, North Yorkshire. The investigation started in 2014 and is codenamed Operation Magnolia.

KDC was a detention centre for boys aged 12-17. It took detainees from all over the North of England for between three weeks and four months. It is alleged that detainees were subjected to the most horrific sexual, physical and emotional abuse there by Prison Officers from the 1960s until 1992. More than seven hundred victims have come forward. One detainee’s story can be read here.

Victims have alleged that NYP Officers witnessed the boys being abused, but failed to intervene and arrest the Prison Officers. Had they done so, the entire sickening cesspit of abuse that was KDC would have been exposed and hundreds of boys would have been protected.

I also linked the crimes at KDC to:

  • The Jimmy Savile and Peter Jaconelli paedophile ring, which jointly raped and abused children in Scarborough and Whitby, from (Jaconelli) 1947 – 1999 and Savile (about 1960 to about 2009). He died in 2011. Jaconelli was arrested for rape in 1972 and both were suspects in a major investigation into paedophilism in Scarborough in 2003, so NYP was                         completely aware of their offending.
  • Allegations of abuse of schoolchildren by Residential Care Officers at Throxenby Hall, Scarborough, which was a Residential Community School from 1946 until 1991 that housed sixty children aged nine and over from as far away as Middlesbrough and Hull. Three men were arrested as part of Operation Manuka in 2015, one was acquitted in 2019. No one has been convicted.
  • Scarborough Police Station, which delivered youths to KDC from the 1960s to 1992 (It is probable that boys were also delivered there by NYP from Whitby Police Station and Whitby Magistrates Court during this period) and was the epicentre of police misconduct in these scandals.
  • Allegations arising from Custody Inspections that Police Officers in one or more of NYPs Custody Suites at Scarborough, York and/or Harrogate Police Stations have been watching female detainees while they are in a state of undress. A criminal offence of voyeurism. This occurred when they were detained and under their control in the Custody Suites and therefore vulnerable. This practice has gone on for many years, from at least 2008 onwards.

The article on abuse by NYP Officers at KDC included an appeal for information, which resulted in one of our readers, who was a victim of abuse at KDC bravely coming forward. He was 14-years-old when he arrived to serve a three-month sentence. He alleges that during the journey to Kirklevington he was told by the escorting Officers from Scarborough Police Station that he would receive a beating from Prison Officers on arrival. When he was being admitted at the reception centre, he was repeatedly punched, kicked and spat at. He was generally humiliated and belittled. This continued throughout his three-month sentence. The most sadistic Officer ran the rope shop. He would line children up and systematically punch, kick and slap them. Some of the younger children there were so frightened of him they would wet themselves while waiting in line for their turn to be assaulted. Teachers also beat the children and the other staff ignored it.

NYP officers from all over North Yorkshire routinely delivered detainees to KDC and witnessed the abuse there. Policemen talk amongst themselves, so it is likely that many Officers in NYP knew what was going on and – despicably – protected abusive Prison Officers by saying nothing.

Sexual Abuse scandals in North Yorkshire

The role of the media is to hold public bodies to account. This includes police officers that are accused of abusing children or acquiescing to the abuse of children. In accordance with this duty, the NYE has been relentless in exposing misconduct by NYP officers in child abuse cases.

However, despite doing our best, we have failed:

  1. Scarborough paedophile ring scandal: The initial position taken by NYP over the Jimmy Savile scandal was “When the allegations surrounding Jimmy Savile were publicised, we carried out extensive searches of force records which did not reveal a local connection”.  As a result of this misleading statement (which has now disappeared from the Force website), NYP was omitted from the initial national investigation into Jimmy Savile. In fact, Savile lived in Scarborough and in joint enterprise with Peter Jaconelli, had committed multiple rapes of children in Scarboarough and Whitby. As a result of information received from Real Whitby North Yorkshire Police was ordered to investigate his offending. However, NYP issued a report denying there was any evidence of any offending by Savile or Jaconelli. Although NYP succeeded in preventing the prosecution of any of the Officers that covered up Jaconelli and Savile’s crimes; the NYE team was able to expose the scandal in a joint investigation with the BBC.
  2. Throxenby Hall scandal: Following this July 2015 Yorkshire Post report on the arrests of three men over abuse at Throxenby Hall in this report here, The NYE raised the allegations of abuse at Throxenby Hall with NYP but it has steadfastly refused to comment. So again, a veil of secrecy has been thrown over what was going on and why no one was successfully prosecuted.
  3. NYP Custody Suites scandal: Likewise with the allegations contained in the custody inspection reports that NYP Custody Officers have been committing sexual offences against women who are held in detention at one or more of NYPs Custody Suites. Chief Constable Winward, Chief Constable Forber and the former Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Mrs Zoë Metcalfe, have all jointly closed ranks and refused to comment on this allegation. The newly-elected Mayor for York and North Yorkshire, David Skaith, was asked for a comment on the NYP custody suite scandal and chose not to respond. It should be emphasized that no-one denies that NYP Custody Officers have been routinely committing sexual offences of voyeurism against vulnerable female detainees, some of whom may be under-age. It is just impossible to get these crimes investigated, or obtain any comment from those who are charged with investigating Police corruption and holding the police to account.
  4. Kirklevington Detention Centre (KDC) scandal: Following an enquiry from the NYE about the Operation Magnolia investigation into NYP Officers, Cleveland Police has responded by following suit. Instead of responding openly to our enquiry, it refused to provide a comment because it felt NYE did not comply with its media policy. The same approach NYP used, to proscribe the NYE. So the NYE has been stonewalled by the police yet again. This is particularly disappointing, given that the NYE has run appeals for information on three unsolved cases in the Cleveland Police Force Area and our articles on KDC are keeping the case in the public eye, and may help generate new witnesses.

In short, the NYE has faced a blue wall of silence for all four scandals.

NYP frequently recruits Police Officers who have retired after thirty years’ service to work as civilian staff. As an example, a 2020 social media posting shows a member of Civilian Staff on the day of her retirement. She had served 30 years as a Police Officer and another 20 years as uniformed Police Civilian Staff from 1970 to 2020 at Scarborough. It is therefore probable that some Officers were involved in multiple cover-ups of sexual abuse at Throxenby Hall, KDC, the Savile/Jaconelli rapes in Scarborough and the NYP Custody Suites, either as serving Officers or subsequently, as civilian custody staff after retirement.

Some of these Officers may have achieved senior rank before retirement. Some of these Officers may still be serving. Many are retired and still alive and so could still face charges.

 

The Cleveland Police investigation into NYP

Despite all this secrecy, some facts nevertheless have emerged about Operation Magnolia.

Media reports indicate that, since 2014, seventeen men who worked at KDC have been arrested and released while enquiries continue. One of these men has since died. He faced allegations of physical and sexual abuse from two-hundred-and-seventy former detainees. This gives some idea of the industrial scale of the abuse that occurred there. In addition, sixteen retired Police Officers from NYP, Northumbria, Cleveland, West Yorkshire, Durham and Lancashire have also been interviewed in connection with offences at the centre. None of these Officers was arrested. They were presumably treated differently, because they were Police Officers. An unknown number of other Police Officers fell under suspicion, but died before they could be interviewed. It is not known how many of these Officers were from NYP, or that is where they were based.

On 10th February 2020, the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland had a “Scrutiny, Performance and Delivery Meeting” which received a Progress Report on Operation Magnolia:

“Operation Magnolia 

The PCC has recently received a briefing from the officers working on Operation Magnolia. As a result of the update the PCC would like to seek assurance from the force that the Operation is being properly resourced and seek information about how the victims are being looked after.

    1. LO [Assistant Chief Constable Lisa Orchard] provided an update in relation to Op Magnolia and it was noted that DCI [Detective Chief Inspector] Sarah Robinson is the SIO [Senior Investigating Officer]. At the point of reporting all victims receive a letter outlining the process and details of various support agencies are included within this correspondence so they are able to access support if required. The victims are also asked how they would like to be contacted and when and it was noted that the majority of victims are happy to be updated only when there are significant events such as the death of officers, CPS decisions, arrests and charges.
    1. In some occasions, a personal visit to the victims may be appropriate and this has been conducted when required. All the victims are also given the contact number for Operation Magnolia so they can ring at any time and if they leave a message they are re-contacted.
    1. Whilst managing many competing demands, the force confirmed that there was a small team who remain dedicated to push forward with the investigation and get justice for the many victims.”

Despite this fine sounding prose, the reality is that victims have been let down yet again. No-one has been held to account for these despicable crimes and the victims have not had justice.

Nor has any Police Officer been held to account and there has been no explanation for the failure of Operation Magnolia.

Summary

Despite blatant child abuse allegations involving Prison Officers, Residential Care Officers, Teachers and Police Officers from six Forces; multiple Police investigations (Operation Manuka (NYP) into Throxenby Hall, Operation Yewtreee (Metropolitan Police) and Operation Hibiscus (NYP) into Savile and Jaconelli, and Operation Magnolia (Cleveland Police) into KDC, no-one has been convicted of anything.

Equally concerning, the mainstream media is not holding the Police to account for these failures.

Only the NYE is holding the Police and politicians to account by pursuing this issue. Hence, perhaps, the reason the NYE has been proscribed.

NYE Appeal for Information

If you suffered abuse in NYP custody, at Kirklevington Detention Centre, or Throxenby Hall, please let the NYE know in complete confidence using the letters@nyenquirer.uk email address. I would particularly like to hear from any Throxenby Hall pupil who knew the pupil that died in the swimming pool at Throxenby Hall, who is believed to have been named Mennell.

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