SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner has ordered a full-scale inspection of the force amid accusations the force failed to listen to victims of child exploitation in Sheffield.
‘Urgent’ talks with the Home Office are under way after Dr Alan Billings said a probe similar to the one carried out by Louise Casey into Rotherham Council is needed in light of the fresh allegations came to light this week.
I now believe that a full ‘Casey-like’ county-wide inspection of South Yorkshire Police is necessary to get to an accepted understanding about the past and whether things have changed
Dr Alan Billings
The commissioner was put under pressure by a leaked police document which names more than 200 girls in Sheffield who were suspected of being sexually exploited and a list of more 320 men accused of carrying out the abuse, predominantly between 2007 and 2010.
Former police officer Tony Brookes said the force at the time focused on crimes linked to Home Office targets, including car crime and burglary.
He said: “If I am to do my job, I need to be sure that everything that can reasonably be known about the past is known. This is the first and crucial step if the force is to get itself into a better place.
“However, in the light of what has now been revealed I cannot be certain that we are at that point.
“Reluctantly, therefore, I now believe that a full ‘Casey-like’ county-wide inspection of South Yorkshire Police is necessary to get to an accepted understanding about the past and whether things have changed – which is the first step to restoring public confidence.
“I believe the only authorities that can commission such an inspection are the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Home Secretary. I met with a group of Sheffield MPs, the Chief Constable and Sheffield City Council this morning and my office is having urgent discussions with the Home Office to agree on how this inspection should proceed.”