The former Manchester police detective who exposed a pedophile ring in Rochdale — and resigned in 2012 over the failure of the system to bring the perpetrators to justice — recently broke her silence. She told the British press about the abuse to which she was subjected in her department for attempting to reveal that the perpetrators were Muslim men of Pakistani origin.
Maggie Oliver explained that the reason she decided to come forward with her story was the discovery that a former colleague, detective John Wedger, not only had experienced similar bullying at the hands of the Greater Manchester Police department, but is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his ordeal. Wedger said he was forced into early retirement in October, after more than two decades of service, due to his mental state. His shaky condition was caused, he said, by the behavior of his colleagues and superiors, who were aware that children were being sexually exploited; not only did they dismiss the fact, however, but at least one officer was providing the perpetrators with information about the investigation.
Oliver recounted that her assignment during what was dubbed “Operation Span” was to gain the confidence of the victims and encourage them to speak about their abusers. She claimed that once the children started pointing fingers at mostly Muslim men, the police department began to downplay her findings.
Oliver and Wedger were not the only secondary victims of Operation Span, however. In May 2017, a few months before their stories were made public, the chief executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Nazir Afzal, was forced to resign over harsh statements he made about Islamists, following the Manchester Arena bombing.