Police watchdog launches investigation into three police officers

Police watchdog launches investigation into three police officers over their handling of probe into child grooming gangs in Manchester

  • Operation Augusta launched in 2004 after death of teenager Victoria Agoglia
  • Senior officers at GMP chose to under-resource the investigation, a report said 
  • Inquiry by the IOPC will focus on the supervision and handling of the operation

Three former senior Greater Manchester Police officers are being investigated by the police watchdog over their involvement in a probe into child sexual exploitation. 

The inquiry by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will focus on the supervision and handling of Operation Augusta in 2004.  

Operation Augusta was a police and social services investigation into child sexual exploitation by grooming gangs in South Manchester. 

Concerns were raised in January by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham over the conduct and decision-making of some officers involved in the investigation. 

The operation was prompted by the death of Victoria Agoglia, 15, a girl under the care of Manchester City Council, who reported being raped and injected with heroin by a 50-year-old Asian man.    

Three former senior Greater Manchester Police officers are being investigated by the police watchdog over their involvement in a probe into child sexual exploitation. Pictured: Stock image

She died of a drugs overdose two months later in September 2003.

Operation Augusta identified at least 57 victims and 97 potential suspects, and a ‘compelling picture of the systemic exploitation of looked-after children in the care system’ was established by detectives.

But senior officers at GMP chose to under-resource the investigation, a report to Mr Burnham said, and a decision was made to close it down in 2005.         

The IOPC said an investigation has been launched into the ‘supervision and setting of direction’ in Operation Augusta, in regards to three former senior officers, ITV News reported. 

Operation Augusta was prompted by the death of Victoria Agoglia (pictured)

Two of the officers have since retired and a third now works for another organisation.  

Steve Noonan, IOPC director of major investigations, said: ‘This has been a lengthy but necessary process and it has taken some time to gather the information required to make a decision whether it was necessary to investigate and who should conduct the investigation.

‘The mayoral review raised many questions about the actions of those involved in Operation Augusta.

‘We have now decided it is necessary to investigate the individual conduct of these three former GMP officers who were all involved in either supervising or setting the direction of Operation Augusta.

‘Though the content of the mayoral review has been analysed as part of our decision to begin an investigation, it was not a specific investigation into the actions of the officers involved.

‘We now need to establish and examine all the available evidence.

‘The investigation is in its early stages.’

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