A police officer and two councillors have been accused of abusing victims of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, in damning new claims today.
The Times claims a police officer abused girls and passed information to abusers preying on vulnerable girls in the town.
South Yorkshire Police is said to have referred the matter to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, for investigation.
A second officer is also believed to be under investigation over claims he failed to take action after receiving information about his colleague’s alleged conduct.
The National Crime Agency is also said to be investigating allegations that two Rotherham councillors abused girls during the 16 years examined by Professor Alexis Jay in her report on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
She found that between 1997 and 2013 an estimated 1,400 children were abused by largely Pakistani heritage men while authorities failed to take action because of cultural sensitivities around the ethnicity of offenders.
Prof Jay said the victims were subjected to ‘appalling levels of crime and abuse,’ which involved them being trafficked to other towns to be raped.
She said police and council officials chose to ‘disbelieve, suppress or ignore’ evidence of the offending.
The claims have been made on the day the results of an independent inspection of Rotherham Council are to be released to MPs.
The inspection was ordered by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has the power to order some form of Government intervention if concerns are raised.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “South Yorkshire Police has referred a number of complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“As publicly announced by the IPCC, their investigation the conduct of 10 officers in relation to their handling of reported child sexual exploitation in Rotherham is ongoing.
“Further referrals are currently under review by the IPCC.
“We remain committed to assisting them with their independent investigation into any alleged misconduct.”
An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC’s independent investigation into the conduct of 10 South Yorkshire Police officers in relation to their handling of reported child sexual exploitation in Rotherham is ongoing.
“This is a large and complex investigation.
“Since we announced our investigation we have received 20 individual complaints.
“Work is ongoing to assess these complaints to determine whether they are new allegations or matters already under the remit of our investigation.
“We have also been liaising with the National Crime Agency in relation to their investigation examining criminal allegations of non-familial child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham to ensure nothing is done to prejudice any future potential criminal prosecutions and both investigations deal with the victims as sensitively as possible.”
A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: “Clearly these allegations are extremely serious and we will co-operate fully with any investigation relating to them by the National Crime Agency.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment further as this is now a matter for the police and the NCA.
“However, our legal advisers will be carefully considering any information that is received in relation to these matters, and we will take any action necessary.”