Policemen will not face charges: Lack of evidence in child abuse claims

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A POLICEMAN and two former officers will not be prosecuted over allegations of sexual abuse of children in care in North Wales because of lack of evidence. The decision by the Crown Prosecution Service follows an inquiry by North Wales Police, which formed part of the biggest investigation to date into child abuse.

A fourth man, a civilian at the time of the complaints but who later became a special constable in North Wales, will also not face prosecution on grounds of insufficient evidence and public interest.

The refusal by North Wales Police to allow an outside force to investigate the allegations against its officers has led to criticism.

Dr John Marek, Labour MP for Wrexham, while not contesting the CPS decision, said yesterday: 'Because the North Wales Police have investigated themselves a lot of people may feel there's been a cover-up and that the police's old boys' network has been used to protect certain individuals. This could have been avoided if an independent force had carried out the inquiry.'

North Wales Police refuted suggestions of a cover-up. A spokewoman said: 'A protracted and detailed investigation into the allegations which referred to incidents alleged to have taken place between 11 and 23 years ago resulted in a comprehensive file . . . being supplied to the CPS for consideration.'

The inquiry contained more than 1,200 pages of witness statements and 2,700 pages of documents. It was part of a continuing investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse involving children in the care of Clwyd and Gwynedd county councils. The investigation was originally confined to two council-run homes - Bryn Estyn in Wrexham, Clwyd, which closed in 1984, and Ty'r Felin in Bangor, Gwynedd. It was then extended to all residential homes in Clwyd over the last 20 years.

A telephone hotline was set up and received scores of complaints from former residents. Seven people are awaiting trial on charges in connection with the inquiry.