ANNE MARIE WATERS’ SUNDAY COLUMN
Police in Barrow are Lying
Sunday May 24th 2020
That may be a provocative headline, but I stand by it. I know from bitter experience that reports of “Asian” grooming gangs have been made in that town, and little to nothing was done. The police reacted with obfuscation and lies on that occasion, there’s no reason to think they’re not doing it again.
Let’s get the “Asian” aspect out of the way. We know what is meant by “Asian” in the UK. It means Muslim. I recall from my own encounter in Barrow-in-Furness, “Turkish looking” was the description given. It makes no difference what part of the Muslim world they come from; its the Muslim element that is relevant and therefore the Muslim element that is deliberately ignored.
Now lets get on with the story.
I needed to search my memory for this, and my computer, and while I found the article I wrote at the time, and some emails, it’s imperfect, so I’ll do my best to describe it as accurately as I can.
First the current situation; social media has been alight over the weekend with a story concerning a young woman (Ellie) in the northern town of Barrow-in-Furness, who posted pictures of herself with her body covered in bruises and injuries, claiming to have been raped.
She said she had been trafficked and prostituted across the north of England by “Asian” gangs, a description very similar to the testimony of previous victims. She has since been arrested and charged with perverting the course of justice and remanded in custody to appear before Magistrates in June. The 19 year old claimed the abuse had gone on for some years and she has received the support of former police whistleblower Maggie Oliver, who is clear that she believes the young woman’s account.
I know nothing of this individual case, however I am willing to go out on a limb and say that I am inclined to believe her too. If I am wrong, I will admit as much, but as it stands, I believe her, and I believe there are others suffering similarly. There are a couple of reasons for this; the first being the bruises on the girl’s body. I can think of very little that would cause these kinds of injuries, and while I’ve never seen a victim of gang rape immediately after the event, I imagine she looks a little bit like this. Secondly, I have personal experience of the police in Barrow-in-Furness and I know they are lying.
The response of Cumbria Police to this controversy has been to insist they are on the case! In a video statement (no longer available on the police website), Det Chief Supt Dean Holden is reported to have said the following:
“What I can say about this particular scenario is that Cumbria Constabulary have been undertaking an operational investigation for nearly 12 months now that has been looking at specific allegations of abuse.
That investigation has involved a dedicated investigative team, a senior investigating officer and significant resources dedicated to it.
As a result of that investigation I can say that an individual has been charged with some offences. I have to be very careful what I say about that because I do not want to undermine any judicial processes, but what I can say is that the investigation was subjected to an independent peer review in March this year.
That review was conducted by subject matter experts nationally, qualified and experienced in investigating sexual abuse and physical violence.
Whilst that review did give us some minor recommendations the outcome was that the investigation was conducted with utmost integrity, transparency and professionalism.
More importantly our safeguarding approach had been very robust and professional, which we had taken with partner agencies.
So I want to reassure people this is not something we had ignored or otherwise dismissed, it is something we have taken extremely seriously and we have sought an independent review to ensure that our investigation is transparent and professional.
What I would say is, when the question is asked, “Is there an organised gang of Asian men in Barrow conducting abuse or other exploitation against individuals?”
Our investigation has shown that has not been corroborated or otherwise evidenced.
Here in Cumbria Constabulary we are not complacent, we are humble and if individuals think they have information that suggests that is the scenario or have any information about abuse, sexual abuse or physical abuse they must contact us and put those reports in.
We will take them very seriously and will do our utmost to investigate them and more importantly safeguard and support victims of crime. We have a really good relationship with our partner agencies and have been really well supported.”
That said, let me take you back to 2016. I received a report from a young girl in Barrow-in-Furness telling me of a gang of men who had followed her home from school. A friend who was with her corroborated her story. The girls even took photos of the men’s cars (yes, plural). They reported these men to the police. No response. They contacted me and I travelled to Barrow to meet the girls, whom I spoke to at length. I wrote the following report for Breitbart news at the time. I will use pseudonyms for the parties involved.
In August , two young friends from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, were walking through the town when a group of men pulled up alongside them and ordered them to “get in the car”. I recently spoke to one of the girls, 15 year old “Michelle”, who despite having reported the incident to police, had had no contact from them when I met her on December 5th. She told me she is almost certain that the same has happened to other girls in the town since then.
There was more than one car of men involved. Having started with one, phone-calls were made and more men arrived. “Michelle” took photographs of some of these cars, but the police, when I interviewed her, had still not looked at them. Part of the description of the men provided by “Michelle”: “like Turks”.
The details of the story are these.
On the 8th of August, “Michelle” and a 13 year old friend were walking through Barrow-in-Furness, close to their home. A silver car pulled up alongside them and the men inside shouted at them to get in. When they refused, one of them said “Michelle’s” name and told her he “had her details anyway”. She had never seen these men before and had no idea who they were, nor had her friend. Understandably very shaken by this, she suggested to me that its possible that girls are being sought out on social media sites. She and her friends are avid Facebookers so this is indeed a likely scenario.
Both girls’ families reported the incident to police on the day it happened; they had received no response by December, despite chasing several times. Police told the girl’s family that they had called to the house to find nobody home, but no note was left and there was no attempt to contact them either before or after this supposed visit.
“Theresa” is a friend of the family and said that she too had phoned the police saying she had copies of the photos and asking if they wanted to see them. She said they told her that as she wasn’t directly connected to the case, she could not report it. On hearing this, the family contacted police again and were told they would be visited – they weren’t.
Following this, “Theresa” posted the details on her Facebook page, only to find out later that the post hadn’t been made public. “Michelle” also wrote about it on Facebook to warn her friends. She soon found herself attacked for “racism”. She told me “it was like I was the one in the wrong for reporting it”.
When a local journalist contacted Barrow police to follow up on “Michelle’s” complaint, he was told “The victim did not wish to pursue the complaint further”. I was assured that this was completely untrue.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for the area is Conservative Peter McCall [accurate as of December 2016]. He was sent an email on September 23rd with a detailed description of both the incident involving the girls, and the lack of police response. “Theresa” stated in the email that she represented worried parents in the area, but she didn’t hear back until she chased him on Twitter on October 31st. At that point, he replied “Once we have the police response, they come to me so that I see them with the facts/issues so that I can give you a more informed answer. I have just checked and we are expecting the response from the constabulary imminently. I do appreciate that this does seem slow but you will understand that they get many questions from the public all of which take police time to answer and some are very complex. I am keen to have honest and open dialogue with the public and very much welcome your engagement. As soon as I have the response to your particular concerns we will write and if that doesn’t answer your questions I’d be very pleased to chat.”
I wrote to Chief Constable Jeremy Graham on December 9th and asked him about the above. I have not yet heard from him. However, I learned today that “Michelle’s” family has finally had that contact from police they’d been promised for so long.
I therefore know first-hand that reports have been made about “Asian” gangs in Barrow-in-Furness before, and the police ignored them for as long as they could. They most certainly did not do their “utmost to investigate them and more importantly safeguard and support victims of crime”. They did the exact opposite.
It’s impossible to know what will happen with Ellie’s case, and nobody but herself can be sure of the exact details as to how she came by those injuries, but we do know that this is happening all over the country, and we do know that police have been complicit in the silence and inaction that permits it to continue, year on year on year.
The police in Barrow are lying about the presence of “Asian” gangs in that town. They are there and they are active, and the police have been told about them.
It is both heart-warming and encouraging to see the outpouring of support for Ellie from among local people. The hashtag #JusticeforEllie contains posts and videos showing the good people of Cumbria standing up and making themselves heard; they even organised a social-distance-complaint protest! Good for them, because regardless of the details of this particular case, and whether they are true or not, police have been lying to us for years. They have demonised victims and protected perpetrators. If this latest furore does anything useful, it reminds us of that harsh reality.
This fight is on-going and we are nowhere near the end. Rape gangs will continue to be exposed, as will police complicity. On a positive note however, the people of Britain are becoming braver and prouder, proving that this will not be tolerated forever. It is the people who will achieve justice and put a stop to these atrocities.
For Britain is with them – 100% and permanently. We will fight these monsters together.
Anne Marie Waters
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