Oldham CSE Report: Rochdale grooming gang ringleader was employed by Oldham Council as welfare officer

Date published: 20 June 2022

The ringleader of a Rochdale grooming gang was employed as a welfare rights officer by Oldham Council, the Oldham CSE report has revealed.

Shabir Ahmed - who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence -  was seconded to the Oldham Pakistani Community Centre during his time working for the local authority.

Despite multiple concerns being raised about him and his arrest for the sexual assault of children, police failed to tell the council.

Ahmed worked for Oldham Council between 1988 and 2006.

The CSE report, which was published this morning, identifies "serious failings" in how both the council and Greater Manchester Police investigated concerns in respect of the offender.

Those failings included:

  • In 2005, GMP failed to inform Oldham Council of an allegation of serious sexual assault against Ahmed.
  • In 2008, Rochdale Borough Council and GMP did not inform Oldham Council when the allegations made against Ahmed were discussed in Rochdale
  • Oldham Council took no action when the probation service notified them that Ahmed had been charged with sexual assault.  The council failed to undertake a safeguarding assessment.
  • In 2011, after the offender was charged with the rape of a child in 2005, the Probation Service informed Oldham Council, who failed to initiate a full assessment of Ahmed's circumstances.
  • In 2012, following a further allegation of abuse, children’s social care at Oldham Council "inexplicably" closed the case within a few days without undertaking any assessment.

The report concluded that there were "serious multiple failures by both Greater Manchester Police and Oldham Council" to follow the procedures in place to investigate the threat that the offender presented to children.

"If these procedures had been followed, his offending behaviour could have been addressed at an earlier stage and potentially the abuse of his subsequent victims may have been prevented."

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