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

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone