The PSNI District Commander for Fermanagh and Omagh has said that any police officer acted improperly when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse should be held to account and investigated.

Superintendent Clive Beatty was speaking at a meeting of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) meeting in Enniskillen on Tuesday following questions from PCSP member, Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh in relation to the ongoing investigation and reporting of historical sexual abuse in Fermanagh by this newspaper.

Councillor O’Cofaigh asked Superintendent Beatty about the allegations that some of those who were abused had gone to police but were told not to proceed with the allegations, while other cases were dropped due to lack of evidence and what this may do to community confidence. Responding Superintendent Beatty said the police in particular should be open to any challenge or any failure for any victim in the past and it should be looked into by the police ombudsman.

“If there are any allegations of impropriety by police officers that should be investigated.” Superintendent Beatty was unable to give the exact figure of victims who have suffered sexual abuse and could not confirm if there are any links between alleged perpetrators.

“We can’t speculate on the exact number of victims as yet until such time as all victims come forward to the PSNI to speak with us. Although the journalism will say there are a number of people that have come to them they haven’t all come to us so therefore we can’t give an exact figure at this point in time.

“There is no linkages in the information that is there. There is no linkages in the evidence we have to say that there is a paedophile ring in the Fermanagh area.

“As we haven’t collated all of that evidence in an official statements. Until such time as that is known we won’t be able to fully link absolutely everything that is happening.” Responding to a question surrounding the murder of suspected child abuser David Sullivan, Superintendent Beatty said the murder investigation was still ongoing and if leads were to emerge from any victims coming forward this would be investigated.

Councillor Keith Elliott said he was shocked by what he has been reading “every Thursday morning”.

PCSP members also agreed to draft a statement in which it will encourage sex abuse victims to go to the police.