AN MP plans to raise the inquiry into allegations of sexual and physical abuse at North-East detention centre during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, February 5).
North West Durham MP Pat Glass said she wished to seek assurances from David Cameron that the Home Office would step in and support Durham Police should a major incident take place as it carries out inquiries, centred on Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett, County Durham.
Mrs Glass’ intervention comes as police revealed they had been contacted by 300 people in what has become the biggest investigation of its kind the force has had to deal with.
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The claims from victims living throughout the country follow after Durham Police’s announcement in August that it was launching a new investigation into claims that inmates were abused during the late 1970s to 1980s.
Prison officer Neville Husband was jailed in 2003 for committing sex attacks on youngsters. His friend, Leslie Johnson, a store man at the centre, was also jailed. They have since died.
Mrs Glass told The Northern Echo said: “At Prime Minister’s Questions I intend to ask about this, because although Durham Police are coping well, it is the biggest inquiry they have ever had.
“If we had to get another serious incident or a murder a small force like Durham will be under real pressure.
“So I am wanting to know that should that happen then the Home Office will step in and support the police.”
She added: “Durham Police are quite determined that - because they have had more than 300 people come forward now - that every single person who comes forward will be listened to by a member or the team very quickly – within five days – and their complaint is acted on.
“They understand the seriousness of this and that if you don’t do these things properly they just come back for years and years.
“I want to make sure that if necessary we have the resources to back this up.
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendend Paul Goundry said: "Last week I had a meeting with both Mrs Glass and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, where I outlined the state of the investigation and explained the background.
“They were both fully supportive and understood the key element is for us to focused on the needs of the victims.
"We have now been contacted in total by over 300 people, the vast majority of whom are victims who had not previously come forward.
“All will be seen by a specialist detective who can advise them on the professional help and support which is available."