Police admit their incompetence over Rochdale Grooming Gang scandal
Greater Manchester Police's chief constable has admitted the force was "borderline incompetent" in the way it dealt with grooming gangs.
Stephen Watson (pictured below) issued a personal apology to three women who were victims of horrific sexual abuse in Rochdale when they were children.
They were left with a "deep-seated hurt", he told the BBC, stressing his force was now "radically different".
GMP paid substantial damages to the women in an out-of-court settlement.
Lawyers for the victims - one who was aged 14 and two who were just 12 at the time of the abuse - successfully argued their human rights were breached by GMP's failure to protect them.
Their abusers' trial heard how young girls were plied with alcohol and drugs and gang-raped in rooms above takeaway shops.
Victims were ferried to different flats in taxis where further abuse took place, sometimes with cash changing hands.
The perpetrators of this horrific and systematic abuse are predominantly Pakistani muslim men.
Nine men were convicted of sexual exploitation in 2012.
Mr Watson, speaking on BBC Radio Manchester, said: "The bottom line is we've failed children in the past, we simply did, there's no beating around the bush.
"I don't think people did it out of a sense of badness, I don't think people did it because they were incompetent.
"But I think organisationally we were borderline incompetent in the sense that we just didn't do things then that we absolutely do now."
Mr Watson said that when he was a young police officer if a missing child was found with an adult, the focus was on recovering the child.
Now the adult would "as night follows day" be arrested, he said.
Mr Watson became chief constable last year.
Police failings, highlighted in previous reviews of grooming gangs operating in Greater Manchester, happened under previous chief constables.
An Apology is NOT ENOUGH! Too little, FAR too late!
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