On Air Now
Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
8 March 2016, 08:52 | Updated: 8 March 2016, 08:54
Essex Police has announced it is to hold a review of child abuse allegations involving child in local authority or foster care dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.
The force says it follows a meeting held with a number of people who worked in child protection in the county during that period last month.
It says during that meeting "serious concerns were raised about alleged sexual offences committed against children, particularly boys in local authority or foster care, during the 1980s and 1990s".
It says further concerns were raised about the safeguarding a support provided to young people.
It says there were a number of investigations and prosecutions during that time period - and two convictions - but there are concerns these may not have been sufficiently through.
The force says it will explore the allegations in "scrupulous detail".
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: "At present we have allegations but no victims, suspects or locations. But whether alleged abuse, especially organised and institutionalised, happened yesterday or thirty years ago, it's our duty to review it without fear or favour.
"If you have information about such crimes or are yourself a victim or survivor of sexual abuse as a child during this period, I need you to come forward and contact us directly on 101, asking to speak to a specialist officer within our Child Abuse Investigation teams."
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: "The abuse of a child, whether in the care of their parents or the state, is an abhorrent crime.
"Professionals who worked in Essex during the 1980s and 1990s have raised serious concerns with both Chief Constable Kavanagh and me, and it is right that Essex Police examines these allegations meticulously and seeks out any new evidence.
"For an adult to come forward and report abuse suffered as a child takes real courage.
"I would say to anyone in this situation: please come forward and trust us. You can speak to Essex Police directly, or to a specialist organisation which can provide support and help".