Police have made an arrest after a Facebook post alleging serious sexual abuse and physical violence against a teenager.
Cumbria Constabulary has today issued a video statement in which they say an individual has been charged – but has denied claims of a grooming gang being involved.
The force says it was made aware of a social media post issued by a member of the public on Wednesday concerning the alleged abuse, which police say was claimed to have occurred in the Barrow-in-Furness area.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Holden, Head of Crime and Safeguarding at Cumbria Constabulary, today said: “I am doing this release in response to some recent Facebook posts alleging serious sexual abuse and physical violence against an individual.
“First of all I have to start by saying that in Cumbria we take any such reports extremely seriously and have a very robust response.
“What I can say about this specific scenario is is Cumbria Constabulary have been undertaking an operational investigation for nearly 12 months – dedicated at looking at specific allegations of abuse.
“That investigation has a dedicated investigative team, a senior investigation officer and significant constabulary resources and finances committed to it,” he continued.
“As a result of that investigation, I can say an individual has been charged with offences.
“I have to be very careful what I say about that because i don’t want to undermine any judicial processes.
“What I can say is that investigation was subjected to an independent peer review in March this year.
“That review was conducted by subject matter experts nationally – qualified and experienced in investigating sexual abuse physical violence.
“Whilst that review did give us some minor recommendations, the outcome was the investigation had been conducted with the utmost integrity, transparency and professionalism
“And more importantly, our safeguarding approach had been robust and professional.”
Chief Superintendent Holden said he wanted to reassure people the allegations were not something the police had ignored or otherwise dismissed.
He added: “What I would say is when the question is asked, ‘Is there an organisation of Asian men in Barrow conducting abuse and exploitation against individuals?’ – our investigation has shown that has not been corroborated…
“What I would say is here at Cumbria Constabulary we are not complacent.
“We are humble and if individuals think they have got any information that suggests that’s the scnario or any other information around abuse, sexual abuse or physical abuse, then they must contact us and get those reports in.
“We take them very seriously and do our utmost to investigate them and more importantly to safeguard and support victims of crime.
“We have a really good relationship with our partner agencies – really well supported with Children’s Social Care Adults Social Care and other partner agencies and working together collaboratively we are really committed to making sure we provide an excellent service for any such victims of cirme.”