Hull child sex grooming probe finally re-opened after Humberside Police shut case with no charges
A POLICE force has re-opened a major child sex grooming investigation following pressure from campaigners, alleged victims, Essex News and Investigations and other media.
Humberside Police today confirmed it had re-opened its investigations into the alleged grooming of school girls in Hull more than a year after it closed the case following 34 arrests but no charges after a two-year probe.
It comes after we revealed last month that the case was under review by Operation Hydrant, which looks at historical cases for local police forces.
A Humberside Police spokesman said: "An investigation entitled Operation Marksman was launched in Spring 2019 in relation to allegations of child sexual exploitation against two victims in Hull. The investigation was conducted over a two-year period and whilst 34-arrests were made, to date, no charges directly relating to these allegations have been secured.
"However, the investigation has remained under review and continues to be a priority for the force."
The statement said that Humberside commissioned Operation Hydrant to carry out a review of its investigations in October 2021, three months after it closed the case.
However, we can reveal that Operation Hydrant expressed interest in looking at the case from last July when our editor Jon Austin wrote a series of reports about the victims' disappointment at the case being dropped.
After these reports officers from the national police Operation Hydrant, which reviews historic sex abuse cases, made contact with the Maggie Oliver Foundation, which had been supporting some of the Hull victims.
The foundation was set up by former Greater Manchester Police detective Maggie Oliver after she resigned from the force and turned whistle-blower over its failings in investigations into child sex grooming gangs in Rochdale.
The force spokesman added: "In order to assist the force and ensure that every opportunity to bring offenders to justice has been explored, the Deputy Chief Constable invited the external Hydrant Programme team to provide a full evidential review of the investigation so far, in order to inform the force with their next steps.
The Hydrant Programme is the national lead for the policing response, oversight, and coordination of child sexual abuse investigations.
Assistant Chief Constable David Marshall said: "We have continuously reviewed the investigation and in 2021, chief officers commissioned a review of the investigation so far by Hydrant, who are national experts in this complex area of investigation.
“Based on Hydrant's evidential review of Op Marksman, Humberside Police have taken the decision to establish a new investigative team and recommence the investigation.
“The investigation team will focus on a number of lines of enquiry, with the victims being updated and receiving our full support.
“Humberside Police understand the significant public interest in any allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation within our communities. As the investigation is active, it is imperative we protect its integrity. When we are at a stage where releasing further detail will not impact or jeopardise any criminal or judicial proceedings, we will of course look to communicate this information."
Last November Sky News followed up on our reports with its own series of documentaries examining evidence in the case.
In response to the news, Ms Oliver tweeted: "I want to stress Humberside police (& Op Hydrant) were dragged kicking/screaming to this “review!” The victims came to us,"