Operation Sherwood is a dedicated team of police officers and support staff whose remit it is to investigate non-recent cases of child sexual exploitation featuring within the IRT’s report in Oldham.
This team are part of GMP’s CSE Unit of specialist officers dedicated to investigating historical cases of CSE across Greater Manchester.
What cases will Operation Sherwood investigate?
The Op Sherwood team are initially reviewing the ten cases which were included in the review commissioned by the Mayor’s Office into safeguarding practices in Oldham. However, they will also explore any further lines of enquiry which result from their initial investigations, leaving no stone unturned. Should any further victims, or indeed suspects, be identified, the team will endeavour to explore these leads thoroughly, and pursue any potential criminal aspects which previously may not been adequately investigated.
Why doesn’t Op Sherwood investigate all cases of non-recent CSE?
The Op Sherwood team are part of a larger, dedicated team of specialist officers who are solely working on major non-recent CSE investigations in Greater Manchester. GMP has so far invested over £2.3million into the CSE Unit, comprising officers who are dedicated to pursuing perpetrators and seeking justice for victims of CSE, regardless of the passage of time.
Once all the Sherwood staff are recruited the unit will be 106 strong.
This team has been behind a number of operations dedicated to investigating non-recent CSE crimes which were not thoroughly investigated and have since seen a number of investigative results. For example, the team has so far seen several major investigations in Rochdale result in charges being brought and preparing for trial. Operation Lytton for example is a live investigation, whereby eight defendants were charged in March 2022 with 82 offences in which the trial is set for May 2023. Operation Green Jacket which was well-publicised following the last CSE assurance review, is ongoing and has resulted in 21 arrests so far.
The Op Sherwood team sits within this unit and will focus on cases in Oldham in an effort to identify any investigative lines of enquiry which can be pursued.
How can victims seek support from somewhere other than police?
There are dedicated multi-agency Complex Safeguarding Hubs in every district across Manchester, where specialist teams from victim support services, local authorities and police are co-located and work together to actively safeguard vulnerable children and adults and provide specialist support to anyone who comes forward as a victim of sexual exploitation, whether that be current or non-recent, wherever they are in the region.
This wrap-around approach from partner agencies across Greater Manchester ensures that as soon as report is made to any of the agencies, the right safeguarding measures can be put in place, appropriate referrals to specialists are made, and the relevant authorities can ensure they are focusing on preventing abuse and pursuing those who aim to take advantage of vulnerable children.
Not all victims of CSE will wish to pursue or support a criminal investigation, but may still wish to seek support. Specialist support will still be provided, even if the person getting in touch does not want to go down the criminal justice route.
How can victims of CSE get in touch with Police and seek support from other services?
If someone who feels that they have been a victim of CSE, as outlined in the IRT’s Oldham report, and wishes to speak to the Op Sherwood team:
Call 0161 856 2124, between 7am and 3pm, Monday to Friday