Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police handling 183 child sex abuse cases

Woman poses in front of Rotherham skyline Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Police and Crime Commissioner's report comes weeks after another study that was critical of the force's handling of historical CSE cases

South Yorkshire Police is investigating 183 child sex abuse (CSE) cases, a new report has revealed.

The study by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire, Dr Alan Billings, said officers investigating CSE had the highest caseload of any part of the force.

It equates to an average of more than nine crimes per officer.

Dr Billings said most of the cases were historical, making them particularly difficult to investigate.

The findings come less than three months after the Drew Report concluded South Yorkshire Police had been "seriously under-resourced" in its early attempts to tackle CSE and its response to safeguarding those at risk had been "inadequate", particularly in Rotherham.

"With non-recent cases of abuse, [officers] have to put together a case where there may be no forensic evidence so are very dependent on witnesses and their statements, and all of them holding up in court," Dr Billings said.

"You need a lot of care wrapped around the victims and the witnesses."

The Drew Report was commissioned in the wake of the Jay Report which found that at least 1,400 girls were abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Image caption Dr Alan Billings was re-elected as South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner last month

Dr Billings said the rise of CSE reports to the force was "actually a good thing in the sense that people have now the confidence to come forward".

The new report said the investigations had led to "considerable operational demand on CSE investigators with 183 ongoing investigations".

It continued: "Public protection officers currently have the highest caseload of any part of the force, an average of over 9 crimes per officer in spite of the investment in staff.

"In spite of the difficulties presented the outcome rate for offences recorded between April 2015 and March 2016 shows 37% resolved by way of charge/summons, caution, restorative justice or other sanction, most being resolved by charge or summons."

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