12 January 2015
Commenting on the publication today, Monday 12 January, of an interim review of Operation Pallial by Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, NCA Director General Keith Bristow said:
“Today’s ‘Learning the Lessons’ report recognises the importance that Operation Pallial and partner agencies have placed on supporting people who have come forward to report abuse in the care system in North Wales.
“Ensuring that Operation Pallial started with and maintained a victim-focused approach has been essential in enabling us to conduct a professional investigation and place sexual offenders before the courts.
“Operation Pallial has been contacted by nearly 300 people, who have had the trust and confidence to come forward, and we have promised to provide feedback to every one of them, regardless of whether or not someone stands trial in relation to what they told us.
“We are making good progress. One person (John Allen) has already faced a jury to answer for his past actions and was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of 33 offences against 19 victims last month.
“Four further trials, involving a total of nine defendants, will start in January, March, April and June. The date for a sixth trial involving two further defendants has yet to be set.”
Operation Pallial has previously produced a public report on progress, has been independently reviewed and has always worked in partnership with other organisations to ensure that the National Crime Agency investigation is open and transparent.
“I know that imminent court cases and ongoing investigations have limited the number of victims that the Children’s Commissioner has been able to interview for his interim report, but we will incorporate any additional learning into our investigation as well as victim care arrangements delivered by partners. We will also ensure that this new report is available to other law-enforcement agencies conducting or starting similar investigations across the UK,” added Mr Bristow.
“I would like to personally thank the Children’s Commissioner for Wales for his advice, support and professional challenge to Operation Pallial during the past two years and I look forward to working with the new Commissioner once an appointment has been made.”