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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
Chief criticises teen sex inquiries
Terry Grange
Mr Grange has said all cases should be investigated fully
A top police officer has claimed detectives often breach the trust of parents by abandoning investigations into under-age sex.

Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable Terry Grange has given a highly-critical account to the BBC of the way in which many allegations into sex with under-age children are dealt with.

The child protection spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, Mr Grange has also alleged that some officers "metaphorically" shrug their shoulders following parental complaints.

As a result, he says, some claims are not properly investigated, leaving young people at risk.

In BBC One's Real Story With Fiona Bruce - to be shown on Monday night - Mr Grange, said: "Far too often we've metaphorically shrugged our shoulders and said that the girl won't make a statement - therefore there is no complaint, therefore we can't investigate it.

Whether or not the child knows it's rape, we should investigate, and we should all use all legal means at our disposal to do so
Chief Constable Terry Grange

"Well, put tritely, people who are murdered don't make statements and we investigate them.

"Disabled children with whom adults can't communicate don't make statements, but we investigate those offences.

"If an offence is alleged and it's an older man, investigate it. Find out everything you can about him and then decide what to do."

Insisting that every effort should be made to investigate child abuse claims, he added: "We should all use all legal means at our disposal to do so."

Mr Grange - who has doubled the child protection team in his own force area - advised parents to voice their discontent and press for action.

"I'd ask to see evidence that things are being done," he said.

"The police service depends on trust and the officers that are saying they can't do anything, in my view, are breaching that trust.

"I think the tools are there, I think the legislation is there, I think the police service needs to take a much stronger line in using it."

Mr Grange said most teams were going to have to be increased - regardless of the impact on other police priorities.

Real Story: BBC One, Monday 10 May 2004, 1930 BST and live on the Real Story website.

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