BREAKING: Police watchdog investigates whether ex-Commissioner lied on oath

Shaun Wright
Shaun Wright
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The police watchdog has launched an investigation into whether former Police and Crime Commission Shaun Wright lied on oath about what he knew about child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking at whether Mr Wright committed perjury when giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2014.

It follows a referral from South Yorkshire Police after the Police and Crime Panel in South Yorkshire, which holds the county's Police and Crime Commissioner to account, received two complaints about Mr Wright.

Mr Wright gave evidence, under oath, regarding his knowledge of allegations of widespread child sexual abuse in Rotherham.

It is alleged that he denied having knowledge of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham during his time as cabinet member for children’s services at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council between 2005 and 2010.

The IPCC investigation is specifically focused on whether the evidence given, on oath, by Mr Wright, was in any way misleading.

IPCC Deputy Chairman Sarah Green said: “The IPCC can only investigate a Police and Crime Commissioner if the allegations made are serious enough to be potentially deemed criminal. "We are investigating, because at the time the evidence was given, Mr Wright was still South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

"Our investigation will involve analysing the evidence given at the Home Affairs Select Committee and we will take statements and conduct interviews with any relevant witnesses that we identify as the investigation progresses.”

Mr Wright resigned in September 2014 and was replaced by Dr Alan Billings after facing repeated calls to step down in the wake of a report which found at least 1,400 children were abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

He was the head of children's services in the town between 2005 and 2010.

The child sexual exploitation scandal was laid bare in a report published by Professor Alexis Jay in August, 2014.

She found that girls as young as 11 were raped by multiple attackers, trafficked around the country, beaten and intimidated by gangs of men of largely Pakistani heritage.

The reports found that those in authority failed to act to protect vulnerable victims.