March 1974. I got there about 7.30am – the boys' mother had phoned me early in a desperate state of mind. I talked to the boys separately. They had burgled the local garage last night. The two police detectives arrived as I was going in to advise the boys' mother they should face it and give themselves up. The detectives demanded to know what the boys had told me. I refused saying this was confidential until I had mother's permission to divulge. I took the mother into another room and talked with her. She agreed with me and the burglary was admitted.
Three weeks later I was called into the Area Social Services Officer's lair. I was greeted by the ASSO, the local Chief Constable and one of the above detectives. I pleaded professional social work good practice. They dismissed this and laid the law down heavily.
Some time later I was called to the Director of Social Services' office and was suitably remonstrated with and formally warned by the Assistant Director.
However, about three months later the local team leader thought my work was of a sufficiently high standard to make me Acting Juvenile Courts Officer. The Clerk of the Court, the Probation Team and I developed excellent working relationships and I learned a lot more about the north Wales police, especially their heavy reliance on the Freemasons. They were not held in high esteem and I remained at odds with them until my resignation from Clwyd (because of their bad practices) in 1975.
1995. Seeing an advertisement by the Waterhouse Inquiry in the paper for people who had any contact with north Wales from 1974 on to send in any evidence relating to child abuse, I did so. In my time working for Clwyd County Council I had encountered no sign of child abuse and had heard no complaints. I did heavily criticise Clwyd County Council for their general bad practices and incompetence which would have extended to their management of their children's homes and I did talk about the adverse influence of Freemasonry in the police and social services. I wasn't called to appear as a witness and I later discovered my written evidence had disappeared in the post.
Christmas 1995. A phone message to say two north Wales police constables would be at Gt Yarmouth police station on Monday morning and would like to see me. I popped in on my way to Northgate Hospital........... I was conducted to an interview room and was told under caution by two very young north Wales women police constables there was an allegation that I had, while working in 1969 as a trainee child care worker at 'Gwynfa Residential Clinic', Colwyn Bay, touched a young boy's genitals while he was showering!
I had never done any such thing – to anyone – anywhere – at any time. But my world exploded. I was working for Suffolk County Council as a senior mental health practitioner which included work with children. As soon as I could I contacted my Area Officer and told her – she had already been contacted by the police. I was not suspended – I suppose they knew me too well to believe I was a child abuser and 25 years working with children without the slightest whiff of a complaint, must have counted for something. Nevertheless a high profile internal inquiry was set up by the legal section. There was no interrogation but they were able to get documentation from the police (which I never saw). The decision was no substance to the allegation and I was to continue working as normal.
A little while later a letter from the north Wales Constabulary told me the allegation had been dropped for lack of evidence.
I’m writing this as something of a cautionary tale (apart from that if you’re a whistleblower there is far more than one way to undermine you). Later, as I struggled with the role of false allegation victim and the psychological effects of that, I came across an organisation called F.A.C.T. - False Allegations against Teachers and Carers. I joined and went to several of their meetings. Many of their members had been dragged through court, had had their lives devastated and their employment severed, only for the courts to throw the cases against them out. Many of those accused were innocent.
BUT YOU CAN’T PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE.
Many of the false allegations arose from the police ‘trawling’ for allegations - writing letters to care home residents; prodding and probing until they got what they wanted. There were also statements from outside the remit of the Waterhouse Inquiry saying police had been involved in child abuse and the north Wales police had ‘covered up’ these complaints. There were also suggestions that the police had ‘fitted up’ some people. Someone who made his own pithy investigations is the author Richard Webster and his book ‘The Secrets of Bryn Estyn’ is well worth reading.
The Jimmy Savile events have now bred a new call for a fresh inquiry into the north Wales child abuse affairs. I think this is legitimate and a long time a-coming. There were complaints and allegations of abuse in the community, especially in Wrexham, which Waterhouse ruled to be outside the remit of his inquiry - so that evidence couldn’t be aired and examined. Patently an injustice. The monster has longer tentacles.
However, the police have to be carefully watched. A Parliamentary probe into the police methods around the Waterhouse Inquiry criticised the ‘trawling’ methods the police used and decreed them wrong. The lives of many people were devastated by this practice. They have to find evidence of child abuse where it is indicated but they should not manufacture evidence. The Home Secretary has now asked for anyone abused to complain to the police!!!!
BEWARE, remember HILLSBOROUGH.