The police watchdog has announced it is to investigate 10 South Yorkshire police officers over their handling of child sexual exploitation in the wake of the Rotherham child abuse scandal.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the 10 officers – who have not been named – were identified through Professor Alexis Jay’s independent review of how child abuse allegations were handled.
Another three officers identified by an internal police review are not part of the new inquiry, an IPCC spokesman said.
Kathryn Stone, an IPCC commissioner, 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.
“I have met with South Yorkshire Police and am reassured by their commitment to fully cooperate with the investigation.”
The IPCC set out how a number of potential police misconduct allegations were identified in Prof Jay’s report, which was published earlier this year.
In one case, an officer is alleged to have argued during a child protection conference against incidents being treated as sexual abuse because he thought thatthe child had been “100 per cent consensual in every incident”.
The Jay report was critical of the remarks, which related to a CID officer who had been investigating offences against a 12-year-old girl who had sex with five men.
The IPCC also said that there had been “no police activity” around a suspect who, according to intelligence records from June 2001, was threatening a family and encouraging a victim to engage in prostitution.
A spokesman for the watchdog said no officers have yet been identified in relation to this allegation.
Other allegations of misconduct centre on evidence in a 2003 rape case being lost and a failure to progress an investigation into a report of a 14-year-old girl being raped.
Two officers will be investigated over claims they failed to adequately investigate an incident of a young girl being found drunk in the back of a car, and an individual having indecent photographs of her on his mobile telephone.
In a further allegation, two officers will be examined over claims they did not adequately investigate naked images of a young girl and “possible evidence of group offending”, the IPCC spokesman said.
The controversy following Prof Jay’s report led to a series of high-profile resignations including Roger Stone, the Rotherham council leader; Martin Kimber, the council chief executive and Joyce Thacker, the director of children’s services.
The most high profile resignation was that of Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, who was the Rotherham councillor overseeing children’s services between 2005 and 2010.
South Yorkshire’s chief constable David Crompton has also been under pressure to explain his force’s attitude towards child sexual exploitation over the last 15 years.
Mr Crompton has pledged to investigate individual cases and stressed that his force has seen a massive increase in the number of officers and other staff devoted to tackling the crime in the last couple of years.
Last month, the the National Crime Agency (NCA) announced it would lead an investigation into outstanding allegations of child sex abuse in Rotherham.
The NCA said it was taking on the inquiry following a request from Mr Crompton.