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Storm as Hugh Orde insists less should be spent on historical abuse cases

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 02/05/2016

Under fire: Sir Hugh Orde
Under fire: Sir Hugh Orde

Former PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has faced criticism after he called for less money to be spent on historical child abuse cases, and more on safeguarding children now.

Sir Hugh described it as a "back to front" way of using limited resources.

However, campaigners said there is "no cut-off date for the suffering caused by sexual and other abuse in childhood. Nor should there be a cut-off date for justice".

In an interview with Sky News, Sir Hugh said: "You fully resource a historical investigation, yet you don't fully resource a current day investigation. That is back to front."

He said the focus should be on people who need protection now.

Sir Hugh was Chief Constable between 2002 and 2009.

He is also the former head of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

He is now backing a charity called the Dot Com Children's Foundation, which teaches primary school children how to recognise the warning signs of grooming and abuse.

He added: "I absolutely understand and respect the need for the victims of these awful cases to have some form of resolution.

"Personally, I would far rather that money was spent protecting the next generation and we look differently at how these past cases are reinvestigated or resolved to a degree."

Sir Hugh voiced a similar opinion in an article he wrote for the Daily Telegraph in 2015.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, which campaigns for justice for victims of child abuse, questioned Sir Hugh's position.

He said vulnerable children have been "failed" over previous decades.

"Sir Hugh advances a dangerous idea that, if child abusers manage to hide their crimes for long enough, then the police should stop or scale back investigations," he said.

"That could have adverse consequences for children in need of protection now as well as being dismissive of the suffering of children in the past."

The Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period, up to 1995.

These included a range of institutions, run by the church, state and voluntary sector.

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