Chief Constable asks National Crime Agency to continue independent investigation into historic child abuse

Mark Polin, the Chief Constable of North Wales Police, has asked the Director General of the National Crime Agency to continue an independent investigation into recent allegations of historic child abuse, called Operation Pallial.


The request follows initial enquiries by the Operation Pallial team and publication of a report today, which shows that 140 allegations of historic child abuse in North Wales have been recorded since concerns were broadcast in November 2012.


Operation Pallial has so far identified 76 new complainants making allegations of historic abuse, which occurred across 18 care homes in North Wales. Offences against boys and girls aged between seven and 19 years old are believed to have taken place between 1963 and 1992.


A total of 84 individuals, (75 male and nine female), have been named by complainants as being responsible for offences. Of these, 16 individuals have been named by more than one complainant. It is believed that ten of these 16 may be deceased.


Announcing his decision to ask Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency (NCA), to continue an independent investigation into allegations of historic abuse, North Wales Chief Constable Mark Polin said:


“I took the decision to ask the Director General of the National Crime Agency to investigate these allegations last November, conscious that some victims of historic abuse may not have the necessary level of confidence in North Wales Police to report matters directly to us. Operation Pallial provides the necessary independence and transparency.


“Operation Pallial has now secured accounts from almost all victims who are willing to support an investigation and it makes absolute sense for the officers and staff involved to date to be the core of phase two and to move matters forward as quickly as professionally possible. The Director General has agreed that the National Crime Agency will lead this work.


“The Home Office are to meet the additional costs of Operation Pallial to date, allowing other equally important policing services to continue to be delivered without impact on our policing budget. I am in discussion with the Home Secretary regarding funding for phase two of this complex and large investigation.”


Operation Pallial has been working with local councils, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre, the NSPCC and other victim support networks, North Wales Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and an independent community representative to ensure that victim’s needs are considered at all stages.


Individual care arrangements have been put in place for many individuals and support will continue to be provided for as long as necessary.


Detective Superintendent Ian Mulcahey of Operation Pallial said:


“Almost everyone that Operation Pallial is aware of has now been video interviewed by specially trained officers. Many have provided graphic accounts of abuse, in some cases of very serious criminality.


“These are serious allegations that will be thoroughly investigated. We are prioritising our activities to ensure that any level of ongoing risk to the public is minimised.”


Operation Pallial will continue to be conducted under the overall leadership of Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency (NCA).


The NCA investigation is supported by members of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) and police officers and staff from forces in England.


Operation Pallial has already been subject to an independent review to ensure that it is focussed and operating within national best practice. The review found it to be ‘well managed’ and ‘on target to reach its objectives’.


There are currently 31 people employed full time on Operation Pallial, with other individuals providing advice or services as necessary. The cost for phase one of Operation Pallial, which is being met by the Home Office, is estimated at £573,058.


Note to Editors: The establishment of the National Crime Agency is subject to Royal Assent to the Crime and Courts Bill.


Issued by North Wales Police Press Office.



Useful contacts for the public:


Operation Pallial Investigation Team


Incident Room: 0800 118 1199


Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre




Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Freephone: 0808 801 1000 (9am-5pm Mon-Friday except Bank Holidays)

Text: 80800 starting the message with COM.


Victim Support