FORMER Greater Manchester Police detective Maggie Oliver told her Celebrity Big Brother housemates she felt she had been ‘taken for a ride for 16 years’ in the wake of the Rochdale sex grooming scandal.
The mum-of-four, from south Manchester, also described policing as an ‘old boy’s network…alive and kicking’.
Maggie is a shock contestant on the reality show and discussed her experiences with the other housemates during her first night in the house.
The ex-detective constable, who resigned from GMP after claiming the force had failed victims of the scandal, was asked by former Coronation Street actress Amanda Barrie why she agreed to go in to the house.
She said: “I wanted to carry on talking about things that I was talking about. I joined the police..I promised to be impartial, to act with integrity, to protect the vulnerable, to uphold the law. It wasn’t an opinion. It’s black and white what the law is to me.
“But what I saw, it made me feel as though I had been taken for a ride for 16 years.”
Maggie was the central character in the BBC drama series Three Girls, played by Lesley Sharp.
She had been central to the real-life investigation and persuaded vulnerable and reluctant young girls to give evidence against paedophiles who had sexually abused them for years.
But one of the victims she convinced to speak ended up being portrayed as a member of the grooming gang in the subsequent trial. Maggie said she felt betrayed and resigned.
She went on to become a vocal critic of how police had handled the case.
Nine men were later convicted for their involvement in a sex ring which saw girls, one aged as young as 13, plied with alcohol and free food before being passed around for sex.
Ex-MP Ann Widdecombe argued on the show that the issues had become ‘politicised’.
Maggie replied: “It was completely politicised. I am not a mug.
“The chief constable said that I was this woman who had lost plot, become too emotional…just go away silly little girl.
“Those girls hadn’t come to us. We, I, on behalf of the chief constable, I begged and pleaded with them to tell us what happened two years ago.
“I want other women to look and think, one voice can make a difference.”
Maggie went on to describe policing as an ‘old boy’s network’ which was ‘alive and kicking’.
She said she didn’t feel she had been treated differently because of her sex but added: “If you look around senior police officers, the vast majority are men and they have got a vested interest in keeping it that way.
“Women to get to that top of that profession…really.”
After Maggie told how she was going to ‘dish the dirt’ on police’s handling of the scandal during her time in the CBB house, ex-GMP chief Sir Peter Fahy told the M.E.N: “I was very open about the failings at GMP and other organisations at the time.
“At the end of the day we achieved a successful prosecution which highlighted these issues to the whole country.
“I think the underlying issues are the failure of the criminal justice system, the abuse of the victims and the failure of the care system.”
Maggie is a surprise early favourite to win CBB, with many bookmakers quoting her at 3-1 to win the show.
She went on to be given immunity from the first eviction by housemates Amanda Barrie and Jess Impiazzi, who chose her over the others.
Malika Haqq described her as a ‘really, really caring soul’, with others praising her ‘warmth’ and ‘compassion’.