Ex sex abuse case officer in CBB house
DETECTIVE Constable Maggie Oliver resigned from GMP claiming that the force had failed the victims of the Rochdale sex grooming scandal.
She had been central to the investigation and persuaded vulnerable and reluctant girls to give evidence against the paedophiles who had sexually abused them for years.
But one of the victims she convinced to speak ended up being portrayed as a member of the grooming gang in the subsequent trial.
Maggie felt betrayed, ashamed and resigned. She became a vocal critic of how police had handled the case.
She resigned in disgust at the treatment of one the girls who was originally portrayed as a ‘madam’ who had introduced the men to a string of vulnerable girls for a finder’s fee of £10.
The girl was having sex with some of the men herself - sometimes one after the other.
Although she was central to the plot and was interviewed, she was not in the dock and never appeared as a witness.
Before the case started, the Crown Prosecution Service decided she had been a victim before becoming a perpetrator and ruled it was not in the public interest to prosecute her.
However, the decision to name her on the indictment infuriated Detective Constable Maggie Oliver, a motherof-four from south Manchester.
Maggie had been part of an investigation into a previous sex grooming scandal in 2004 which was almost identical to the one in Rochdale.
It is said to have identified 26 teenage girls in Hulme and Rusholme thought to have had underage sex and a list of 208 potential suspects.
She worked with the BBC to dramatise her experience in Three Girls, in which Lesley Sharp plays her character. This is Maggie’s story: “When I joined Greater Manchester Police in 1996 I swore an oath like every other bobby who joins the job. I promised I would act with honesty and integrity, that I would protect the vulnerable and I would do my best to put away the bad guys. I was good at my job because I’d had a life before the cops. I knew how to speak to vulnerable kids.
“A lot of police officers don’t have a clue about that. Put me in front of a computer and ask me to do analysis and I’m useless. But I know how to speak to people. What I saw in Rochdale was police officers and senior cops acting without any shame because it was convenient to ignore the abuse they knew was happening.
“I felt it was wicked. If I can’t look myself in the mirror and feel proud of what I’m doing then it makes me as bad as them. So I had to make a stand for what I believed was right.
“And don’t believe any of this rubbish that police have learned from their mistakes. I worked on an almost identical operation in 2004, Operation Augusta, which had identified dozens of young victims and dozens of suspects. It was a virtual carbon copy of Rochdale, men of largely Pakistani heritage were abusing vulnerable white girls, in Hulme and around the Curry Mile in Rusholme. I was on that job for a year and a half. It was a huge investigation.
“My husband Norman became ill and sadly passed away. I had to take time off and by the time I came back three months later the job had literally died a death. I was totally incredulous. It just didn’t make sense. It was as if it had never happened. The girls had told me what had happened. I’d gained their trust. I’d given them my word that GMP would take their allegations forward and that they should trust us.
“We’d found locations where the abuse had happened, vehicles used to transport the victims and had identified many serial sex offenders. We also had social workers telling us they’d been trying to get the police to take this problem seriously for years. But not one offender was arrested or charged. I couldn’t believe it. It was as if none of it had