Further Essex Police child abuse cases investigated

Anonymous child on steps
Image caption Child abuse cases investigated by an Essex Police team have been referred to the police watchdog

The handling of eight further child abuse cases is to be investigated in addition to 30 cases already being looked into, a police force has said.

Essex Police apologised to alleged victims after it found problems with investigations involving 59 children.

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said the force has now referred additional matters to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The cases relate to an investigation team covering the north of Essex.

Mr Kavanagh confirmed the additional cases were about the same issues as the other referrals - child sexual exploitation, the use of intelligence and the quality of response officers.

Speaking to BBC Essex, Mr Kavanagh said there had been a "range of shortfalls" by 12 officers involved in investigating the cases.

One officer has been suspended and 11 have been put on restrictive duties, the force said.

Image caption Chief Constable Steven Kavanagh said the force had spoken to all the alleged child abuse victims involved

When Essex Police became concerned about the handling of some child abuse investigations, an experienced retired detective was brought in to review the "live" investigations being conducted in the north of the force area.

Speaking last week, Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said the IPCC was conducting two independent investigations and a "managed investigation of referrals" relating to the handling of 28 child abuse investigations reported between April 2011 and November 2014.

The IPCC was already reviewing two investigations by the same team.

Mr Kavanagh said some of the cases involved "allegations of a lack of honesty or integrity by officers".

"When we were concerned about shortfalls, we put the victims at the front of this," Mr Kavanagh said.

"We've written to them all, we've spoken to them all.

"These are our own referrals, none of those are complaints from victims - this is us holding ourselves to the highest possible standards."

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