[N]orthumbria Police has launched an investigation into non-recent child abuse at Newcastle United Football Club.
Officers from the force’s Safeguarding Department have launched Operation Tide, which will be a dedicated team of specialist officers who will investigate complaints regarding historic abuse.
Following high-profile media coverage of victims waiving their anonymity to speak out, the force has received a number of reports about non-recent abuse at Newcastle United Football Club.
The force has met with the club and a full investigation will be carried out into these reports.
Detective Chief Inspector Shelley Hudson of the force’s Safeguarding Department, who is leading the investigation, said: “We have launched an operation into complaints of non-recent child abuse at Newcastle United in the 80s and 90s.
“These are some extremely serious reports of abuse and will be investigated with the highest of priority by the force. I have also met with Newcastle United officials who confirmed their full support and commitment to assisting the investigation in any way possible.”
“We acknowledge the bravery of victims who have already taken the step of reporting abuse to the police and we are keen to speak to others who may have suffered similar abuse.
“I want to reassure victims that your complaint will be taken seriously and that we are here to support you – You are our absolute priority and are at the heart of everything we do. We have set up a dedicated team of specialist officers to help support any victims who come forward and we are also working closely with partners to ensure the best support mechanisms are in place for victims who do report.”
Anyone who has suffered abuse is asked to contact the Operation Tide team on 101 or seek advice from the dedicated NSPCC helpline, which is supported by the Football Association and is available 24 hours a day on 0800 023 2642.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said, “We are aware that the NSPCC and some police forces have received a number of calls alleging non-recent child abuse within football clubs. Through Operation Hydrant we will work closely with the NSPCC and the Football Association to coordinate the police response to these reports.
“We encourage those who have been the victim of child sexual abuse to report it to the police – we will listen, take the allegations seriously and a thorough investigation will be launched no matter how long ago the abuse may have taken place. We also urge anyone who may have any information regarding child sexual abuse to come forward.
“When allegations are reported, it enables police to assess whether there are current safeguarding risks and ensure appropriate action is taken.”