Greater Manchester Police launch probe into historic child abuse cases

Greater Manchester Police has launched a probe into allegations of historical child sex abuse in youth football, after recent media reports prompted people to come forward.

GMP, the country’s third largest police force, has joined the Metropolitan Police and the Football Association in investigating the growing scandal, which was sparked when former player Andy Woodward spoke out about the abuse he suffered at the hands of convicted paedophile Barry Bennell.

It comes after it emerged that Bennell, a former Crewe Alexandra coach, was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital on Friday night after being found unconscious, in what police called a ‘fear for welfare’ incident.

GMP urged more victims to come forward and said complaints would be treated seriously.

Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Ford said: “Following recent media coverage, Greater Manchester Police has received a number of calls from people reporting historic sexual abuse whilst they were in the youth football system.

“We have now launched an investigation and our specially trained officers are supporting those who have come forward so far.”We are co-ordinating our investigation with forces nationally and with Operation Hydrant, the national co-ordination hub for historic child abuse investigations concerning persons of public prominence.”I would encourage anyone who was a victim of sexual or physical abuse to come forward and speak to us as soon as possible.

“I completely understand that for many people, making disclosures about such traumatic events can be difficult, but we will offer advice and support throughout.”