South Yorkshire Police

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

Published March 23, 2015 by JS2

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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

Police chiefs to meet author of report on council’s failure to tackle child sexual exploitation in Rotherham

Published February 25, 2015 by JS2

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South Yorkshire police chiefs have vowed to meet the author of a scathing report on Rotherham Council’s failure to tackle child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Louise Casey, tasked by the Government with examining how and why Rotherham Council failed to tackle the issue, has now suggested that South Yorkshire Police should face the same level of scrutiny.

Her inspection of the council painted a picture of a local authority in denial about how more than 1,400 children had been subjected to rape, violence and trafficking by gangs of mainly Asian men.

Ms Casey told a committee of MPs she ‘left no stone unturned’ in her inspection and believes South Yorkshire Police’s failure to deal with child sexual exploitation should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny.

“The police, South Yorkshire Police more generally, need to look at their failure to the victims of Rotherham, full stop,” she said.

“The police have to step up and accept the same level of responsibility to those victims and those perpetrators as the local authority.

“We were asked to inspect Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and we left no stone unturned. It’s a pretty thorough and damning report. The same level of scrutiny has not happened to the police in Rotherham over that time.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “South Yorkshire Police officers engaged with Louise Casey and her review team throughout her inquiry and we have made a firm commitment to meet with her in the very near future to discuss her findings in further detail.

“South Yorkshire Police has referred a number of complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

“We remain committed to assisting them with their independent investigation into any alleged misconduct.

“The National Crime Agency is carrying out an independent investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the period covered by the Jay report at the request of Chief Constable David Crompton.

“The first stage of the investigation, called Operation Stovewood, is now underway.”

Rotherham scandal: IPCC to investigate 10 officers over handling of child sex claims

Published November 18, 2014 by JS2

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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.

 

David Barrett

Rotherham child sex abuse: Police ‘ripped up files’

Published November 11, 2014 by JS2

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Abuse victim Carol told BBC reporter Toby Foster her paperwork detailing her ordeal was ripped up by a police officer

Police in Rotherham tore up paperwork relating to one child sex abuse victim and stopped another from being medically examined, the BBC has been told.

One woman claimed a policeman called her a liar after she reported being abused aged 15, and the other alleges police prevented her being examined after she was abused aged 13.

Both were speaking to BBC Inside Out.

South Yorkshire Police said both cases were now with the police watchdog.

A report in September by Prof Alexis Jay found 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 by men of mainly Pakistani heritage.

The abuse they suffered included beatings, rape and trafficking to various towns and cities in England.

Two women told BBC Inside Out Yorkshire that police not only ignored, but actively obstructed investigations into their abuse.

The two cases happened eight years apart. The women, given the pseudonyms Jenny and Carol, are part of a group of 32 preparing to sue South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council.

Their cases span nearly two decades from the 1990s until 2007.

Carol was living in a children’s home in the 1990s when she was taken on occasions by taxi to an Asian restaurant in the town.

‘Called a liar’

In one incident she was subjected to a violent sexual assault by one of her abusers and was left bleeding.

Carol said: “I told the staff at the children’s home and my social worker and they said a police officer was going to to pick me up and take me to a unit.

“The officer that used to come to the children’s home [regularly], he came and picked me up in a police car.

“He took me to a lay-by; kept calling me a liar, saying he’d read my files and that I was a liar and no-one was going to believe me, it was more trouble than it was worth and he ripped my paperwork up.

“He dropped me back at an Indian restaurant… back with my abuser.”

Lawyer David Greenwood, who is acting for the women in these historical cases, said: “The evidence that I’ve seen and the girls that I’ve spoken to, tell stories that suggest to me that there’s something going on at a systematic level, where the police [were] actively preventing cases going forward against these perpetrators.”

Jenny’s mother, Julie, recalled how in 2007 her 13-year-old daughter was in regular contact with the police, but came home one Saturday night “blind drunk”.

In the morning, Julie questioned her daughter who had vague recollections of spending the evening with a much older man. Her mother collected up her clothing, which had evidence of sexual activity, and called the police.

Julie said: “They sent two police officers out and they said they would take us to a rape centre – there wasn’t one in Rotherham – to either Sheffield or Doncaster so they started taking us to Doncaster.

“On the way to Doncaster, the police got a call on the radio and said they were returning to Rotherham General Hospital.”

‘Spoil his Sunday’

She added that two CID officers came to take a statement.

“They were trying to dissuade her from making this statement by saying that the police surgeon was coming down the motorway to examine her and it was going to spoil his Sunday afternoon with his family – did she still want to go through with this statement?

“They kept going on and on at her till she said ‘No, I don’t want to do it anymore’ so the two police officers took us home and stopped at the door and said sorry.

“I had the items of clothing with me. I put them in the washing machine.”

Julie said her daughter got a shower but the hospital called asking where she was and she explained the child did not want to be dealt with by the police surgeon.

“She said ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about ‘cos there’s no police officer coming down the motorway – our own doctor was going to examine her.'”

Carol says she had the paperwork relating to her attack ripped up by an officer in a police car

In a statement South Yorkshire Police said: “Our staff are now better informed than ever and we are absolutely committed to achieving justice, stopping the harm and preventing future offending.

“All frontline officers and specialist staff have now been trained in relation to child sexual exploitation and spotting the signs.

“Chief Constable David Crompton has asked the National Crime Agency (NCA) to lead an independent investigation into matters relating to the Alexis Jay report and this will be led by Trevor Pearce, NCA director of investigations.”

The statement said the terms of reference for the investigation were being finalised.

“South Yorkshire Police has referred 14 people to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and may make further referrals should the criteria be met,” it continued.

“All allegations will be investigated and where there is evidence of any misconduct referrals will be made to the IPCC.”

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