Two officers from Kent Police's Specialist Operations directorate are helping Jersey Police with its investigation into allegations of alleged historical child abuse.
The allegations involve a former children's home at Haut de la Garenne.
Detective Constable Phil Kershaw and Detective Constable Dave Robinson were both sent to Jersey in March because of their particular expertise in complex, sensitive and high profile investigations. They have 25 years combined experience in the police force.
The officers are interviewing more than 160 victims and witnesses, compiling statements, corroborating evidence and obtaining exhibits which are a vital part of the evidence gathering that could lead to convictions.
It is painstaking work, not least because of the length of time that has passed since the alleged abuse, but Kent Police has the expertise that is often requested by other police forces.
Although DC Kershaw works in the Serious Economic Crime Unit in the money laundering team, he is an accredited Detective and Family Liaison Officer who is an expert in obtaining the best possible evidence from vulnerable people. He has worked on several major incidents regionally and nationally over the years including:
The Susan Kent murder investigation in November 1999.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks in America. DC Kershaw went to New York as a Family Liaison Officer as part of a British contingent sent to help obtain evidence from British nationals affected by the tragedy.
DC Kershaw said: ˜The investigation is clearly very sensitive and many victims are speaking about their experiences for the first time.
˜Emotions are raw for some of them and a great deal of time is required to deal with them appropriately.
˜We have all been working 12 hour days for the past few weeks to try and clear the mass of enquiries generated from the investigation. As with all investigations I keep an emotional distance from the people I am dealing with but it can be very difficult and harrowing at times.'
DC Robinson works in Kent Police's Major Crime Department and in addition to his investigative skills, he is a Family Liaison Officer and a highly trained interviewer.
He has worked on several major incidents regionally and nationally over the years including:
The Antoni Imiela serial rapes in 2001/02
Animal rights investigations
DC Robinson said: ˜I am proud to be working on this investigation as it is vitally important for the victims to finally have their say and know that the matter is being investigated.
˜It is very hard, tiring and sometimes distressing to continually interview victims and witnesses and hear them recount their stories of sexual, physical and mental abuse as children by adults whom they should have been able to trust.
˜Many of these people are badly damaged and unable to form lasting and loving relationships as a result of what happened to them as children.
˜I am sure that some of the police officers will require some form of counselling themselves.'
Note to editors:
1. The States of Jersey Police website is www.gov.je/HomeAffairs/Police
2. The Jersey based historical abuse team can be contacted on: 0800 735 7777
3. For interviews with Phil Kershaw and/or Dave Robinson contact:
Media and Communications Officer
Specialist Operations Directorate
Phone: 01622 798 655 or 07969 583 975
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