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Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Former DC Maggie Oliver says grooming in Rochdale "is still happening"

She uncovered sexual abuse and grooming by gangs of Asian men

Maggie Oliver was reluctantly catapulted to fame when she spoke out against her employers - the police force - in a desperate attempt to help the victims of vile grooming gangs in Rochdale.

The former Detective Constable became a whistleblower, when she believed it was the only way to turn the spotlight on the abuse and rape crimes being committed in Greater Manchester.

However, appearing on This Morning years later, she now claims the abuse is STILL going on.

This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby met Maggie Oliver (Credit: ITV)

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Maggie, who spoke out even though doing so would cost her job and even risk a prison sentence, told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that the abuse of young girls remains a persistent problem in the area.

She said: "I know it's still happening, because I am in regular contact, even as recently as Sunday.

"I was in Rochdale and I have got my finger on the pulse of what's happening in Rochdale.

"Only a few weeks ago, one of the girls that I am in touch with bumped into one of her abusers in Rochdale and he actually spat in her face. That is not 10 years ago, that is three weeks ago." 

DC Oliver resigned from GMP claiming that the force had failed the victims of the Rochdale sex grooming scandal (Credit: ITV)

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For decades, vulnerable children as young as 13 were being sexually abused and groomed by gangs of Asian men in Rochdale.

I know it's still happening, because I am in regular contact with what's happening in Rochdale.

However, after DC Maggie discovered dozens of cases of alleged abuse, she felt like a lonely voice calling out for people to act.

Losing her job and at times her mind, Maggie dared to speak out when others wouldn't in a bid to fight for justice.

Unsurprisingly, she is now described as one of the bravest women in Britain today.

Maggie is still in touch with abuse victims in Rochdale (Credit: ITV)

In 2012, after a two year police investigation, nine men in Greater Manchester were jailed for sexually exploiting and grooming vulnerable white girls as young as 12.

The men were finally jailed with some sentences stretching up to 19 years.

Speaking about her new book Fighting for Justice: Survivors, Maggie spoke about how she knows that the grooming of vulnerable young white girls across the country by Asian men is still rife today.

Horrifyingly, Maggie believes the police have barely scratched the surface, saying: "[It's the] tip of the iceberg. I think we are only just starting to understand the real magnitude of something that has been happening over the past 25-30 years. We've still got a long way to go."

Holly was disturbed to hear Maggie's prediction about Rochdale abuse (Credit: ITV)

She continued: "I was a police officer for 16 years. I joined the police to put the bad guys away. And I thought it was very simple, perhaps naively…

"I didn't even know that this particular crime existed until 2003, but the government and politicians knew full well about it in the mid-90s because Ann Cryer was an MP in West Yorkshire and she was banging on doors [back then]."

Asked why she thought those in power ignored the evidence for so long, Maggie - who has four kids of her own - revealed: "I think there are a lot of reasons why the politicians and the Chief Constables turned a blind eye to this kind of crime.

"One of the reasons is that these kids are very vulnerable. And I think it's more than just ethnicity. I think it's attitudes of them and us, attitudes of an underclass."

She said that, although she didn't want to resign, she was "faced with two choices - give up or speak out".

She added: "Thirty years down the line, I wanted my children to know that I'd spoken up. I wanted my conscious to be clear."

Maggie's efforts were dramatised in the award-winning BBC1 drama Three Girls, in which she was portrayed by Lesley Sharp.

She took part in Celebrity Big Brother 2018, hoping to raise awareness of social issues, zero hour contracts, police neglect and poverty - but claims none of it was ever shown.

This Morning weekdays at 10.30am on ITV

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