Police release school suspects

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Two men arrested over an alleged sexual assault at a private school in Lancaster have been released without charge.

On March 5, up to 30 police officers surrounded the Jamea Al Kauthar Muslim School for Girls in Ashton Road, before arresting three men on suspicion of false imprisonment and sexual assault.

One of the men was released without charge the next day, and police have now released a 40-year-old man from Bolton and a 30-year-old man from Blackburn due to “insufficient evidence”.

However, Lancashire Police have raised concerns about safeguarding processes at the school and have called upon Ofsted and other organisations to look at some of these processes.

John Dilworth, head of the Complex Casework Unit, CPS North West said: “After carefully reviewing all the evidence I have advised the police that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction on any criminal charges.

“During the course of their investigation, police conducted interviews with the relevant students, who were all over 16, and no complaints were made.

“The original witness complaint that was made does not provide a realistic prospect of conviction and no further evidence became available.”

Lancashire Police said that the investigation was concentrated on one incident, but this in turn led to significant questions about safeguarding processes at the school.

A spokesperson said: “Clearly we have a duty to respond to information received and that is what we have done in this case, as sensitively and proportionately as possible, so that we could ascertain the circumstances surrounding the information we received.

“Our priority is the protection of vulnerable people and given the same information again we would act in the same way.

“We also have a safeguarding responsibility outside of that investigation, along with partners and regulators, and are duty bound to make sure that the right processes are in place at the school to protect the welfare of pupils.

“With that in mind we have asked Ofsted and other partners to look into some of these processes.”