Historic Abuse Probe Ends After 5 Years

23 February 2019, 07:09 | Updated: 23 February 2019, 07:11

Cumbria Police

The 5-year investigation into alleged historic abuse at residential children's homes in South Cumbria is drawing to a close.

Operation Tweed has cost Cumbria Police £2.3million, with 170 victims coming forward about non-recent cases.

Three men were convicted, but one had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Officers looked into Witherslack School and Underley Hall School.

Cases relating to Cedar House School and Cartmel Priory and Settlebeck Schools are still to go through the courts.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Justin Bibby of Cumbria Police said: : “A dedicated team of detectives, led by a Senior Investigating Officer, has worked tirelessly to thoroughly investigate these reports, to gather and analyse evidence and to trace and interview a significant number of people, many of whom are now living in different areas across the country and further afield. This team have kept victims informed and signposted them to other agencies for support.

“Whilst we have ensured the victims who have come forward have been appropriately supported, we have also worked to ensure the entire investigation has been carried out thoroughly and impartially.”

T/ACC Bibby added: “Investigating cases which date back many decades are always challenging. In this instance, there were a number of potential defendants and people identified as victims who had died either prior to the beginning of the Operation or during it. Some of those who died had been charged with multiple offences.

“With 170 victims coming forward, the Constabulary sufficiently resourced Operation Tweed to allow a thorough and objective investigation to be conducted.

"Cumbria Constabulary takes all reports of abuse seriously and we continue to urge anyone who believes they may have been a victim of abuse, to report it – no matter how long ago. All victims are treated professionally and sensitively, with dignity and respect.”