POLICE have today confirmed they are helping Wirral Council with investigating allegations contained in the Anna Klonowski report.

The independent consulant carried out a highly detailed review of allegations of wrong-doing and malpractice in residential and care homes contracted to Wirral's Department of Adult Social Services.

Her 250-page report claimed vulnerable adults were subjected to violence, sexual abuse and theft of their benefits.

The council warned last week the inquiry could become a matter for police.

This morning, Merseyside Police said confirmed that they are "providing Wirral Council with assistance in relation to an internal investigation."

The council leader has pledged to take all steps necessary to do the right thing by those who may have fallen victim to abuses while in local authority care.

Last week, a team of legal officers and the director of adult social services are currently working through the 250-page document to see if any safe-guarding failures should be referred to the police.

Councillor Steve Foulkes, leader of Wirral Council, said: “We are taking these allegations extremely seriously and I cannot express enough our strong intention to do the right thing by the service-users in this report.

“My apologies are already on record and I once again re-state my intention to ensure these failings are not repeated.”

The Klonowski investigation was commissioned following revelations by former social services manager turned whistle-blower Martin Morton.

His account of the systematic overcharging of people with complex difficulties living in accommodation owned by council-contracted "service-providers" was first exposed by the Wirral Globe in 2008.

Mr Morton always maintained he reported to his senior managers the abuses and malpractices he believed were going on in the homes - establishments into which social services had entrusted some of the borough’s most vulnerable people.

It has now emerged overcharging was just the tip of the iceberg.

The following are among the more disturbing claims put on record in the Klonowski review:

* Men with baseball bats turning up at a home run by an independent, unregistered “service provider” demanding money, involving an individual who had previously been investigated by the police for drug money laundering.

* An allegation that a member of a “service provider” staff had a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.

* An allegation of rape made by one of the vulnerable adults.

* Bank accounts being set up in the names of vulnerable adults and their benefit payments then removed from those accounts without permission.

All names of accused individuals and organisations were removed from the report prior to it being made available to the press and public.

Conservative chief Cllr Jeff Green, who ordered the investigation when leader of the council in 2010, said an important issue for the police to consider would be whether some of those companies accused in the report currently providing homes and services to other local authorities up and down the country.