An investigation has been launched into potential failings by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
24 MARCH 2016 | BY Western Gazette - Sherborne FOR Western Gazette
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating how allegations of child sexual exploitation and a related missing persons report were handled by Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
The independent investigation, which began in August 2015 following a referral from Avon and Somerset, is looking at potential investigative failings which emerged during a review of Operation Brooke.IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: “The potential failings by the officers and staff member referred to us are undergoing a full and thorough investigation by the IPCC. We are continuing to work to identify what, if any, failings occurred, and what recommendations might be provided to assist police in preventing the issues occurring again.”
Operation Brooke was an investigation begun by Avon and Somerset in 2013 when an allegation of rape was linked to sexual offending by a number of men, against a number of vulnerable victims. Operation Brooke resulted in the convictions of 13 men for a range of sexual offences.
The IPCC is examining how two separate investigations, which subsequently became part of Operation Brooke, were initially handled by the officers involved. These investigations were carried out between 2011 and 2013.
The investigation is ongoing and notices have recently been served on seven officers and one police staff member informing them that their conduct is under investigation.
This includes three detective constables and two detective sergeants – one of whom was a detective constable at the time – who have been served with gross misconduct notices relating to potential concerns with the timeliness and quality of their investigation into child sexual exploitation allegations.
One inspector, a police sergeant who was an acting inspector at the time, and a police staff member, have been served with misconduct notices due to potential concerns with how they handled a missing persons report.