Manchester

Police announce wider investigation into Knowl View 'cover-up'

Sir Cyril Smith Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cyril Smith died in 2010 aged 82

Police have said there will be a wider investigation into an alleged cover-up of sexual abuse claims at a school linked to the late MP Cyril Smith.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has been looking at claims of abuse at Knowl View residential school for boys in Rochdale from the 1970s.

The force is expected to contact the Home Office for guidance on how to take the alleged cover-up probe forward.

Rochdale Council has agreed to suspend its independent investigation.

'Wider investigation'

Police have been conducting an investigation into whether there is evidence of a criminal cover-up over the abuse allegations.

Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: "GMP 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."

Rochdale Council launched its own a formal investigation into Knowl View school in January.

In April, the council said it was undertaking an independent review.

Sir Peter added: "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."

Hempsons Solicitors issued a statement on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council's independent review team, which said they will "remain in close contact" with police and Mr Garnham "will resume the review as soon as he is able".

The Crown Prosecution Service has also released letters detailing why Cyril Smith was not prosecuted in 1998 and 1999, however much of the detail was released in 2012.

On both occasions the files were passed to prosecutors but no charges were brought.

Seven men have alleged they were abused by the former Rochdale MP at a residential school in Greater Manchester, police have said.

Greater Manchester Police has said the men claimed they were abused by Smith at Knowl View in Rochdale in the 1970s and 1980s.

Smith's family said he had always denied the abuse claims.

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