Greater Manchester Police and the Manchester city council declined to adequately pursue child sex abuse suspects partially out of fear that such could spark "racial hatred," an independent investigation found.
The revelation is tied to a 2004 operation called Operation Augusta that began after the death of 15-year-old rape victim Victoria Agoglia.
The operation identified 57 victims of sexual abuse, and 97 suspects involved in grooming and abuse in the area. The victims were mostly white girls between the ages of 12 and 16, and the suspects were primarily from Asian backgrounds.
Despite the fact that police had names, addresses, and workplace information for the suspects, "very few of the relevant perpetrators were brought to justice and neither were their activities disrupted."
"Concerns were expressed about the risk of proactive tactics or the incitement of racial hatred," the report reads. "The authorities knew that many were being subjected to the most profound abuse and exploitation but did not protect them from the perpetrators. This is a depressingly familiar picture and has been seen in many other towns and cities across the country."
According to the Independent, the investigation into the 97 suspects did not receive adequate resources before being closed down with a total of three convictions. A recent incident of racial tension due to unrelated cases involving the Kurdish community reportedly caused officers to be reluctant about the sex abuse investigation.
Manchester officials have apologized for the failures in light of the new report.
"This report makes for painful reading,' said Joanne Roney, Manchester City Council chief executive. "We recognize that some of the social work practice and management oversight around 15 years ago fell far below the high standards we now expect. We are deeply sorry that not enough was done to protect our children at the time."
Detectives will now begin reinvestigating the more than 15-year-old allegations.