83 child sex abuse suspects, nearly 100 clubs ‘impacted’
Police have identified 83 potential suspects in the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked English football and believe 98 clubs from all levels have been ‘impacted’, the National Police Chiefs Council revealed yesterday. The scandal-in which two men have been charged with sex abuse although several of the coaches against whom allegations have been made are out of reach as they are now dead-has seen over a third of all British police forces launch investigations.
The NPCC added that 98 percent of the victims, believed to total 350, are male with their ages at the time of the alleged abuse ranging from seven to 20. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said the figures reflected the seriousness of the scandal. “These shocking numbers now identified by police reveal the deeply disturbing extent of abuse that has been going on within football,” said an NSPCC spokesman.
The NPCC said all calls were being treated seriously-a total of 639 referrals have been relayed to Operation Hydrant which is the overall police investigation into historic sex abuse and who analyse the claims-and being dealt with as quickly as possible. “We are ensuring an efficient and effective service-wide approach to investigating allegations, removing the potential for duplication and enabling the timely and effective sharing of intelligence and information between forces,” said Simon Bailey, the lead for the NPCC on child protection.
“We are also liaising closely with the Football Association to ensure all relevant information they hold is shared to inform investigations moving forward. “As the number of calls being received across the service is higher than usual, it may take longer than normal for an officer from a local force to make contact to follow up from the initial call.” — AFP