Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Rotherham Council launches child grooming 'failings' inquiry

An independent inquiry into historic child sex exploitation and the failings of a council's child services have been announced.

Rotherham Council leader Roger Stone said he wanted a full inquiry after authorities were criticised by MPs for their handling of the issue.

He said the council "apologises unreservedly to those young people let down by our safeguarding services".

South Yorkshire's police commissioner also recently announced reviews.

In June MPs described Rotherham Council as "inexcusably slow", while South Yorkshire Police was said to have "let down" victims of grooming.

'Not good enough'

In November 2010 five Rotherham men were jailed for sexual offences against under-age girls.

In a formal statement on Wednesday, Councillor Stone said the authority's safeguarding services "prior to 2009 simply weren't good enough".

Mr Stone said: "We must also recognise that there remains a need to convince and reassure the public that real change has been achieved.

"To restore public confidence in the safeguarding services that the council provides now and in the future, to show that people have been genuinely held to account and to demonstrate clearly our understanding and appreciation of the devastating consequences of these historic failings."

Old claims

Three reviews into how child sexual exploitation is investigated in South Yorkshire were announced by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner on 29 August.

Shaun Wright has asked for a review into how South Yorkshire Police investigate such allegations.

He also asked for scrutiny of old child abuse claims and cases involving the Crown Prosecution Service.

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