South Yorkshire Police should be subjected to an external inspection into its handling of child grooming in Rotherham, Louise Casey has said.
Ms Casey, whose recent damning report into Rotherham Council resulted in the resignation of its entire cabinet, said South Yorkshire Police should undergo a similar level of scrutiny over its failures to properly tackle child sexual exploitation.
Giving evidence to MPs, she said: “Rotherham Borough Council had no choice but to be inspected. Every member of staff had to see us and we left no stone unturned. We wanted to be utterly thorough.
“That same scrutiny has not happened to South Yorkshire Police.
“South Yorkshire Police have referred some individuals to the IPCC. My point is that is too easy.
“The police have to step up and accept the same level of responsibility to the victims and perpetrators as the local authority.”
Her report was published earlier this month in the wake of the Alexis Jay inquiry, which found at least 1,400 children had been abused between 1997 and 2013.
Ms Casey found the council remained ‘in denial’ about child sexual exploitation and was ‘not fit for purpose’.
She told members of the Communities and Local Government committee the council had been ‘simply inept’ in many respects.
“The governance and management of the local authority simply wasn’t good enough. There was a culture of bullying and sexist behaviour that intimidated people. The race issue was an uncomfortable truth nobody was prepared to talk about and deal with properly.”
She said an initial ‘well-meaning’ desire to stop the Pakistani community in Rotherham being blamed for the actions of a minority of perpetrators had been ‘extremely short-sighted’ and did a ‘disservice’ to the rest of the community.