Police accused of cover-up over loss of video interviews with abuse victims
- Interview recordings with abuse were being edited by a private firm for CPS
- Computers containing the statements were stolen from Manchester office
- Police accused of cover-up after asking those affected to keep quiet about it
- MP Keith Vaz says he is ‘deeply concerned by serious security breach’
PUBLISHED: 00:38, 21 September 2014 | UPDATED: 00:38, 21 September 2014
Labour MP Keith Vaz said he was ‘deeply concerned by the serious security breach’
Vulnerable victims of sex crimes have reacted with panic and fury after highly sensitive videos of their police interviews were stolen in an ‘unacceptable’ breach of security.
The theft of computers containing the statements sparked disbelief among witnesses when they were informed of the break-in.
And police were accused of trying to cover up the incident by asking those affected to keep quiet about it.
The recordings were being edited by a private firm in Greater Manchester for the Crown Prosecution Service.
Last night, Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee, said he was ‘deeply concerned by the serious security breach’ and voiced ‘surprise’ that a private firm had control of such
The loss is a blow for the CPS in the North-West, which oversaw the prosecution of the Rochdale gang in which nine men were convicted for exploiting dozens of girls as young as 13.
Publicity from the trial led to hundreds of victims of sexual abuse coming forward after suffering in silence for years.
But yesterday, it emerged that copies of their video statements had been stolen ten days ago, on September 11.
One witness, whose evidence related to attacks against her as a child, told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘I was told by police that my statement had gone missing. The CPS uses an outside firm to edit the videos and they were all stored on computers.
‘The office was burgled and they all went missing. We were asked not to make the theft public. We were told by police that they’d been recovered today. They said they hadn’t been tampered with but how do they know for sure?
‘You’d have thought these files would have been kept under tighter security.’
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