Sheffield & South Yorkshire

National Crime Agency widens South Yorkshire Police inquiry

Chief Constable David Crompton
Image caption The NCA review was requested by South Yorkshire's Chief Constable David Crompton

Investigations into South Yorkshire Police's handling of child sexual exploitation allegations in Rotherham are being widened.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said it will review three inquiries, only one of which led to prosecutions, with the aim of pursuing offenders.

It said those who believed their past actions would never catch up with them "should think again".

The review was requested by South Yorkshire Police's chief constable.

The three inquiries to be reviewed were conducted between 2008 and 2011.

Five men were prosecuted in 2010 as part of one of the force's investigations, the NCA said.

The review is part of phase one of Operation Stovewood, an independent NCA investigation examining criminal allegations of child sexual exploitation in the town.

'Bring to justice'

It follows the release of the Jay report in August 2014, which revealed more than 1,400 children were the victims of abuse between 1997 and 2013.

Professor Alexis Jay's report said South Yorkshire Police had failed to prioritise the issue.

Trevor Pearce, NCA director, said the force had already addressed a number of issues raised by the review team, which made 48 recommendations.

"I am confident that we now have a foundation from which to deliver a set of consistent, victim-focused and co-ordinated investigations."

He said the investigations aim to "identify, disrupt and bring to justice those responsible for harming vulnerable individuals in Rotherham within the period covered by the Alexis Jay Report".

Mr Pearce said all relevant South Yorkshire Police investigations would be co-ordinated under Operation Stovewood.

However, two current operations into alleged child sexual exploitation would continue to be managed on a day-by-day basis by South Yorkshire Police as they were "making good progress".

David Crompton, chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, said he had requested the review to ensure "transparency and openness" and accepted the recommendations.

"We have dedicated officers working tirelessly to support the victims and bring the offenders to justice and have made a number of arrests as part of these investigations," he said.

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