England

Rotherham abuse officers investigated

Child on swing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Jay report found the abuse of 1,400 children in Rotherham had been ignored by agencies

The police watchdog is to investigate 10 South Yorkshire Police officers over the handling of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The officers are 10 of 13 referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by the force.

Two are not being investigated while a third officer remains under review.

A report, published by Professor Alexis Jay in August, found the abuse of 1,400 children in Rotherham over a 16 year period was ignored by agencies.

IPCC Commissioner Kathryn Stone said: "The amount of public concern across the country about this episode and the impact on confidence in the police means it is important that a fully independent investigation is conducted to establish how South Yorkshire Police dealt with child sexual exploitation.

"I sincerely hope that victims and their families will see this investigation as a positive step towards answering the many questions they must have."


Rotherham abuse

1,400

children were abused, 1997-2013

  • 1/3 of victims were already known to social services

  • 157 reports concerning child sexual exploitation made to police in 2013

  • 10 prosecutions were made between 2013 and April 2014

Getty

The IPCC probe comes after a whistleblower told the BBC she had regularly passed details about alleged abusers to senior police officers but they had failed to act.

The 10 officers - some of whom are still serving with South Yorkshire Police - were identified in Professor Jay's report, which detailed how children had been subjected to trafficking, rape and other sexual exploitation between 1997 to 2013.

Allegations against them included failures to progress investigations into children being abused and the loss of evidence.


Misconduct allegations

  • An officer is alleged to have argued that a child had been "100% consensual" every time they were abused
  • A named suspect threatened a family and was actively involved in encouraging the victim to engage in prostitution, but there appears to have been no police activity around the offending
  • Evidence was lost in relation to a report in 2003 that a victim had been raped on four occasions
  • Failure to progress an investigation into a report from a 14-year-old girl that she had been raped
  • Failure to adequately investigate an incident in which a young girl was found drunk in the back of a car and a man had indecent photographs of her on his mobile phone
  • Failure to adequately investigate naked images of a young girl and possible evidence of group offending
  • Allegations surrounding the police response to information supplied in 2001 highlighting concerns regarding child sexual exploitation issues in Rotherham
  • A lack of police action in response to two commissioned written reports about sexual exploitation in 2003 and 2006

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: "The force has met with the IPCC and remains absolutely committed to assisting them with their independent investigation in any way we can to ensure the full facts are established relating to any alleged misconduct.

"We will fully co-operative with the investigation into the force's handling of child sexual exploitation and anyone found to have not acted appropriately will be held to account."

The controversy that followed the report led to a series of high-profile resignations, including Rotherham's strategic director of children's services, Joyce Thacker, and South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright, who had been the councillor with responsibility for children's services between 2005 and 2010.

Image caption Professor Alexis Jay found 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham over a 16 year period

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