Knowl View inquiry: Police halt review to investigate cover-up allegations

MP Simon Danczuk has claimed an institutional cover-up enabled former Liberal Rochdale MP Cyril Smith to abuse children

Great Manchester Police (GMP) have halted Rochdale council’s investigation into sex abuse allegations involving former Liberal MP Cyril Smith, to allow detectives to launch a criminal inquiry into claims of an institutional cover-up.

It is believed that GMP may ask the Home Office for guidance on how to continue with the probe into the alleged white-wash, BBC News reported.

At the beginning of this year, Rochdale council launched an inquiry into historic child abuse claims regarding the Knowl View residential school, based in the town where then-local Councillor Smith acted as a school governor and was active on council committees involving youth activities in 1960s.

In April, the council appointed deputy high court judge Neil Garnham QC to independently consider allegations that sexual or physical abuse of children took place at premises owned, managed, operated or funded by the council from 1961 to 1995,  following accusations published in a book by Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk.

The review was halted by police on Monday.

MP Simon Danczuk (Getty) MP Simon Danczuk (Getty)
Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy, said: “Greater Manchester Police have been carrying out an assessment into how allegations of child abuse over several decades involving Knowl View care home in Rochdale have been handled.

"That assessment has now reached the stage where we believe a wider investigation is required.

"Due to the range of local and national bodies involved in the decisions made in the past, the force is now considering how the investigation should be taken forward.

"With this in mind Rochdale Council at the request of GMP has agreed to ask Neil Garnham QC to suspend his independent review until this matter is clarified and he has agreed to do so."

According to Mr Danczuk and Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith co-author Matthew Baker, police, spies and politicians helped to hide a number of rapes carried out by Sir Cyril Smith – leaving the politician free to abuse children as young as eight.

The announcement follows GMP's confirmation that Smith abused young boys in the 1960s in his role as secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association.

At least 10 people have so far come forward to say they were abused at Knowl View residential school in Rochdale, of whom seven say they suffered at the hands of Smith.

As well as inquiries into the alleged cover-up, a separate criminal investigation is also under way into the alleged sexual abuse.

Smith, who died in 2010, was elected a Liberal MP in 1972 and became a Liberal Democrat on the formation of the new party before leaving Parliament in 1992. He was knighted in 1988.

GMP’s statement was released shortly after Home Secretary Theresa May announced a new review into the handling of historic allegations of child abuse allegedly involving a cover-up by Westminster politicians.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own