Operation Marksman: Humberside Police reopen investigation into Alleged Child Grooming Gang

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Jacob Shaw

Solicitor Graduate, Abuse

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In November 2022, Humberside Police Force announced that they reopened an investigation into alleged child sexual abuse in Hull.

Operation Marksman was originally launched in Spring 2019 to investigate several allegations made by 2 teenage girls in the city. Despite 34 arrests, 200 digital devices seized, and 100,000 text messages reviewed, no charges or convictions were made. The original investigation was subsequently wound down in June 2021 with officers concluding that the evidence didn’t cross the threshold set by the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed.

This investigation has now been reviewed by Operation Hydrant, which is a national unit formed in 2014 to peer review and co-ordinate policing responses into historical child sexual abuse allegations. Following this review, Operation Hydrant has concluded that a new investigation should be launched into the allegations, which should focus on several lines of enquiry. The alleged victims will be updated and receive full support from the Police.

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To find out more about how we can help in cases of child abuse, get in touch with our compassionate, experienced team.

Statement from David Marshall

Assistant Chief Constable David Marshall has said “Humberside Police understand the significant public interest in any allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation within our communities. As the investigation is active it is imperative, we protect its integrity. When we are at a stage where releasing further details will not impact or jeopardise any criminal or judicial proceedings, we will of course look to communicate this information”.

A new investigative team will examine “a number of lines of enquiry” with the re-opened investigation being backed by more than £500,000 worth of dedicated funding. Speaking for the first time about the new investigation, Humberside’s Chief Constable, Lee Freeman, said that having a new team head up the re-opened investigation was the right thing to do. He went on to say:

“For me, the decision to look again at these allegations is an example of how we are going about turning the ‘good’ grading we received from His Majesty’s Inspectorate for providing a service to victims of crime into ‘outstanding’. This enquiry remains a priority for us and we are not going to let it drop”

“It should not be forgotten that the Operation Marksman investigation saw over 30 individuals being arrested and over 200 devices being seized. Unfortunately, despite that, we were unable to secure enough evidence to take any offenders to court.”

"I then decided to commission the external review and pledged to act on its findings. It wasn't because I had concerns about the previous investigation, it was about doing the right thing for the victims.

"I've now done that by fully resourcing a new investigation team over the next two years. The officers involved have all been drawn from our major crime team and dedicated funding has been put in place to enable it to happen. It's an investment of just over £500,000.

A New Investigation

Additionally, he explained that the new investigation was also being carried out under a new name, referred to as Operation Conference. He added:

“I can understand why some people were critical of Marksman because ultimately there were no charges but that doesn't mean we should pack up and go home. I have made a commitment to carry on with a new investigation and I'm sticking to that."

Two of the alleged victims spoke to Sky News in late November 2021 to tell of their violent treatment and experiences at the hands of several men. The broadcaster saw several pieces of evidence that indicated there were grooming gangs still at  large in Hull. At the time, Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Dickinson said that the Police would be keen to talk to anyone who had been a victim or anyone who had witnessed the alleged abuse.

Get In Touch

Here at Simpson Millar we understand that sometimes it can take a long time before you feel ready to talk. Coming forward takes a lot of courage so when you are ready to talk, our specialist team of Abuse Claims Solicitors are here to listen and support you.

Get in touch with our friendly and approachable team for initial advice. Legal Aid can sometimes be available, or we may be able to deal with your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. We believe that access to legal support is crucial for survivors pursuing compensation and funding options like this makes sure that financial constraints don’t stop survivors from seeking the justice that they deserve.

Why Choose a Specialist Abuse Solicitor?

When taking legal action for Sexual and Physical Abuse it is important that you choose a specialist Abuse Solicitor. Sometimes cases can be complicated and involve a lot of different emotions. Our specialist team of Abuse Solicitors are trained in navigating this while supporting you and keeping your best interests at the heart of the case. We can provide you with guidance, advice and support throughout the process.

We are committed to offering initial advice and creating a space where survivors can share their experiences. We understand that survivors of abuse often grapple with the aftermath of the abuse for years and that the decision to speak out may be a gradual and challenging process.

By revisiting these cases, Humberside Police Force not only seeks justice for the individual survivors involved but also sends a message about the responsibility to protect vulnerable people in our communities. A further message is sent to those responsible for perpetrating the abuse that the ongoing efforts to prosecute will not waver to ensure that they are held responsible and accountable for their actions and the impact that they’ve had on survivors.

To seek legal advice, our friendly and approachable team of experts can be contacted on 0808 239 1287 or alternatively, you can request a call back. We’re here to listen and help in any way we can, without judgement or pressure to proceed with any action. We understand that the process of making a legal claim can be daunting and we’re here to help you through every step of the way – even if you’re not quite ready or sure if you’d like to make a claim yet. We can help explain all the options available to you to make sure that you’re fully informed

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is also available from several organisations. The details of some of these organisations can be found below:

  • Support for Survivors – can be contacted on 0115 962 2722 or by email at [email protected]. Further information can be found on their website at supportforsurvivors.org
  • The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) – can be contacted by telephone on 0808 801 0331 or by email at [email protected]. Further resources are available on their website at napac.org.uk
  • Samaritans – can be contacted by calling their free helpline on 116 123 or by email at [email protected]. Alternatively, a text service and online chat function is available, further details of which can be found on their website at https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/
  • SANE Line – can be contacted from 4pm until 10pm on 0300 304 7000 or you can request a call back by leaving a voicemail message on 07984 967 708. Further information about their services can be found at https://www.sane.org.uk/how-we-help/emotional-support/saneline-services

NHS England Mental Health Helpline – access to this service and further information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline


(n.d.). "Contact Samaritans." Retrieved from https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/ (Accessed December 5, 2023)

(n.d.). "Saneline Services." Retrieved from https://www.sane.org.uk/how-we-help/emotional-support/saneline-services (Accessed December 5, 2023)

(n.d.). "Find an Urgent Mental Health Helpline." Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline (Accessed December 5, 2023)

Support for Survivors. (n.d.). Retrieved from supportforsurvivors.org (Accessed December 5, 2023)

National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). (n.d.). Retrieved from napac.org.uk (Accessed December 5, 2023)

ITV News. (2022, August 30). "Police Reopen Investigation into Alleged Child Grooming Gang in Hull." Retrieved from https://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2022-08-30/police-reopen-investigation-into-alleged-child-grooming-gang-in-hull (Accessed December 5, 2023)

Sky News. (2021). "Hull Grooming Gang Targeted Primary School Girls as Police Told to Declare War on Abusers." Retrieved from https://news.sky.com/story/hull-grooming-gang-targeted-primary-school-girls-as-police-told-to-declare-war-on-abusers-12476202 (Accessed December 5, 2023)

Jacob Shaw

Solicitor Graduate, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

Jacob proudly holds a First-Class law degree from Lancaster University, which he achieved in 2021. Before joining Simpson Millar, he gained experience as a Legal Assistant at another law firm, dealing predominantly with Personal Injury cases. His duties there included assisting with claimant road traffic accident cases, and public liability and employer's liability matters.

His commitment extends beyond the courtroom. At the age of 17, he was already volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Morecambe, assisting with a range of issues, from employment and benefits to consumer disputes. Recently, he was involved in a fundraising initiative for the National Association of People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). Jacob also participated in a sponsored walk in August 2023, aiming to further contribute to this worthy cause.

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