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More than 650 child sexual exploitation referrals to South Yorkshire Police in under a year

Published March 23, 2015 by misty534

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More than 650 suspected cases of child sexual exploitation have been referred to South Yorkshire Police in less than a year, new figures reveal.

Between April 2014 and February 2015, 188 reports were made in Sheffield, 176 in Barnsley, 134 in Doncaster and 132 in Rotherham.

There were a further 28 reports linked to grooming incidents believed to have happened across more than one district of South Yorkshire.

All the referrals have been investigated, with 244 offences recorded across South Yorkshire – 74 in Doncaster, 68 in Rotherham, 64 in Sheffield and 38 in Barnsley.

As a result, 38 people have been charged or summoned to court, with three given a caution.

Police said a number of investigations are still ongoing and further charges will be brought.

Details have been released by South Yorkshire Police as part of its efforts to raise awareness about child sexual exploitations and the force’s work.

One victim today said a planned investigation into the conduct of the force is needed to restore public confidence.

“I do think the police are sometimes a little bit stuck because they have to abide by the law and everybody blames them when it is partly down to the CPS,” she said.

“There have been 244 offences and only 41 have been charged – that means some are walking about scot-free.”

She added: “I don’t think people trust the police still. A report needs to be done into the police to start moving on – the past needs to be dealt with.

“The council are now starting to get on board and put things in place.”

There are 189 live investigations still running across the county, including 50 in Sheffield, 46 in Rotherham and 39 in Barnsley. Doncaster has the highest number of ongoing investigations, with 54 taking place. It comes as Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP and former Home Secretary David Blunkett spoke of his ‘sadness’ at the length of time it took police officers concerned about the way child sexual exploitation was handled in the city to speak out.

Mr Blunkett said he hopes police past and present will take heed of the pledge by The Reverend Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, that if they come forward with information they will be ‘listened to and taken seriously’.

Dr Billings urged current and former officers to come forward after retired detective Tony Brookes went public with claims that senior police officers in Sheffield ignored efforts to open inquiries into child sexual exploitation in the city. Mr Brookes claimed the force spent money set aside for tackling child abuse on crimes including robbery, car crime and burglary to meet government targets.

Leaked documents reveal police chiefs in Sheffield knew the names of 200 possible abuse victims between 2007 and 2010 but a lack of police action to find the perpetrators.

Mr Blunkett said: “I am extremely sad that those who provided further worrying revelations felt unable to do so earlier, including ex-police officers.

“I know that the new process set up by the commissioner will place emphasis on a trustworthy and robust mechanism now to provide information privately, to be taken seriously and to avoid the ‘drip drop’ approach which is so corrosive.”

Chris Burn & Claire Lewis

Investigation into South Yorkshire Police ordered in wake of fresh allegations of child sex exploitation

Published March 13, 2015 by misty534

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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.

Referencing the inquiry which uncovered revealed the abuse of 1,400 girls while authorities turned a blind eye in Rotherham, Dr Billings had today announced the need for a ‘Casey-like’ inspection.

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.”

Yorkshire Post

Sex-risk children ‘let down by Sheffield police’

Published October 22, 2014 by misty534

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Ms Lucas led the Sexual Exploitation Service in Sheffield until 2012 

Hundreds of young people at risk of child sexual exploitation in Sheffield were let down by police, a whistleblower has claimed.

Ann Lucas, who ran the city’s sexual exploitation service, told BBC News she had regularly passed details about alleged abusers to senior officers.

They had repeatedly failed to act, she said, adding the force’s priorities had been “burglary and car crime”.

South Yorkshire Police said the allegations would be investigated.

The force is already facing an investigation following the publication of an independent report in August that accused it of failing child-exploitation victims in Rotherham.

That report found at least 1,400 children had been abused over a 16-year period.

‘Exploitation gangs’

However, Sheffield, just six miles from Rotherham, was seen as a model for tackling child sexual exploitation.

In 1997, the council set up a unit to look at the problems of young girls engaged in prostitution in the city.

The aim was to understand what drove them to it and to treat them as victims, not criminals.

In 2001, the city secured Home Office funding to set up the Sexual Exploitation Service, bringing together council, voluntary and health services.

The police were also involved, initially providing a constable to work with the team on a part-time basis.

In later years, the police provided some funding to the service and increased the commitment of the part-time officer.

“I felt for years that I was banging my head against a brick wall because it wasn’t a priority”

Between 2001 and 2013, at least 668 young people, mainly girls, were referred to service, according to figures obtained by BBC News.

Some were as young as 11, most were white, 14 to 15 years old, and living at home.

About a third were under the care of the council.

Ann Lucas ran the project from its inception in 1997 until she retired in 2012. She is full of praise for the front-line officers she worked with, but is highly critical of some of their superiors.

In 2003-04, she and her team started mapping by whom the children were allegedly being abused, the addresses of where they were being exploited, the names and nicknames of the perpetrators and their car registration details.

‘Misconduct?’

She said all the information had been passed on to senior police officers but that no prosecutions had followed.

She said: “There were arrests and child abduction notices [were served], so they might move off that young person, but without the prosecuting strand being strong, we could divert the person away but with the message [to the abusers] that you could get away with this, so they would move on to other young people.”

In 2006, the service became aware that a group of teenage girls were being abused, allegedly by a group of Iraqi Kurdish men.

A document seen by BBC News shows that one 13-year-old girl told officials she had been raped by five men, had experienced physical violence, including being punched, kicked and burned with cigarettes, and had had threats made against her family if she told anyone.

Ms Lucas said she and another council official, had gone to see Jon House, who was chief superintendent for Sheffield at the time.

She said she had showed the former chief superintendent all the information they had collected, and asked that a police investigation be launched into the allegations.

She said: “I was told that their [the force’s] priorities were burglary and car crime and we had to cope with no extra police resources. It was extraordinary. How could anyone in their right mind think that burglary and car crime is more important than young people being raped?”

Staffing boost

Mr House, who has left the police and is now a senior manager with PWC consultants, said: “Without more, I cannot immediately remember the details of a meeting alleged to have taken place eight years ago. Throughout my period we had to deal with very serious issues on a daily basis.”

South Yorkshire Police said: “This is a question that only those involved can answer. South Yorkshire Police will look into these allegations and where there is evidence of any misconduct referrals will be made to the IPCC.”

Ann Lucas took her information, which included allegations that the girls were being moved to other cities, to the newly opened Human Trafficking Centre. They assessed it and asked South Yorkshire Police to investigate the claims. “They re-branded it as trafficking, which was a priority,” said Ann Lucas.

“They took exactly the same information back to South Yorkshire Police a few months later who took it on and mounted an investigation.”

Operation Glover led to six men being convicted. Aziz Hamed and Ajad Mahmoud were each sent to prison for 10 years for serious sexual offences, while two others also received substantial custodial sentences.

South Yorkshire Police said Operation Glover “was focused on child sexual exploitation and not human trafficking, although we understand the two are often intrinsically linked”.

Ms Lucas is delighted that more officers are now being asked to investigate child sexual exploitation and that it’s finally, maybe, receiving the priority it deserves. “I felt for years that I was banging my head against a brick wall because it wasn’t a priority,” she said.

Ms Lucas passed all her allegations on to Chief Constable David Crompton, of South Yorkshire Police, during a meeting last month.

In a statement, the force said “they will look into the allegations and where there is evidence of any misconduct referrals will be made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission”.

They added since 2013, there had been a six-fold increase in staff dedicated to tackling child sexual exploitation.

And they said the National Crime Agency was to investigate how the force handled historical allegations of sexual grooming and that the terms of reference for that inquiry were being finalised at the moment.

BBC

Sheffield vicar is jailed for sex crimes

Published April 9, 2013 by misty534

CHURCH leaders and social services have been condemned for a ‘cover-up’ of a vicar’s sex attacks on a teenage girl in Sheffield.

 John Yallop’s 16-year-old victim was sent to him for counselling after losing her mother, father and grandmother all within seven months in the late 1980s.

But the Burngreave vicar forced her to perform a sex act on him, and exposed himself to her in his own home and car over two months.

On two occasions, he groped the orphan at St Peter’s Church, Ellesmere – where he had conducted the funeral of her late mother.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the girl first made a complaint 26 years ago – and Yallop, now 65, admitted to a social worker then what had happened. But, rather than informing the police, social services met with church leaders – and it was decided the married father-of-two would resign. Police were never informed.

Sarah Wright, prosecuting, said: “He accepted responsibility. He said he wanted to ‘show her he loved her’.

“The victim feels she was never able to grieve for her family. She has suffered depression, had suicidal thoughts on many occasions, and it has affected her relationships with partners.

“In 2012 she saw a newspaper article where the defendant suggested he was about to foster and she felt she must make a formal complaint.”

Yallop, now of Blackburn, Lancashire, initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault three days into a trial.

Miss Wright added: “The defendant remembered a meeting with the Bishop of Sheffield where he said a complaint had been made, and he thought the best thing for him to do would be to resign.”

Jailing him for three years, Judge Simon Lawler QC told Yallop: “You unmercilessly abused her for your own sexual gratification. Now, there would have been an immediate complaint to police and the church would have taken swift action. Then, it was swept under the carpet.

“The church were more concerned what a formal complaint would do to its reputation. It was a cover-up.”

 

The Star