Under-fire police chief Shaun Wright today claimed he had received ‘many messages of support’ to continue – as Sheffield politicians of all parties united in urging him to go.
The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner told The Star a task force he set up in 2013 to deal with historic child sexual exploitation cases will be ‘instrumental’ in ensuring lessons are learned from the Rotherham scandal, after a report revealed at least 1,400 girls had been victims there between 1997 and 2013.
Rotherham Council deputy leader Paul Lakin said at the authority’s cabinet meeting that ‘of course’ Mr Wright should resign, and it was ‘shameful’ he had not done so yet.
A vote of no confidence in Mr Wright was also passed unanimously at Sheffield Council’s full meeting yesterday.
UKIP councillor and former police inspector Jack Clarkson, who also called for the senior command team at South Yorkshire Police to be ‘disbanded’, said: “He is acting like Ming the Merciless, he won’t relinquish his power.
“He’s on £85,000 a year and has made a real mess of what he’s been doing in Rotherham. There’s only one way for it – go Mr Wright, go.”
Opposition Liberal Democrat members had proposed the vote of no confidence, and party leader Colin Ross said: “We are united in calling for the police and crime commissioner to stand down.
“He has lost the confidence of his own party, across South Yorkshire, and most importantly with the public and young people – we can’t go on like this.”
Council and Labour leader Julie Dore said she felt ‘sickness’ and ‘anger’ at the report.
There is to be an ‘urgent assessment’ to make sure Sheffield is responding to child sexual exploitation effectively whenever it is a concern.
Coun Dore also said the Government needs to ‘rectify’ the situation which means Mr Wright cannot be made to quit.
Mr Wright insisted: “The findings of Professor Jay’s report are not about one person or one organisation. These findings are about taking a multi-agency approach to dealing with bringing the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice.
“I’ve had many messages of support, many from partners, encouraging me to remain and to continue my work prioritising and tackling the extremely important issue of child sexual exploitation.
“I’m sure all partners involved in tackling this issue will work with me to do just that, for the sake of past victims and for the sake of safeguarding potential future victims.”
He added that he recommended South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton ‘urgently’ consider the report’s findings and praised the taskforce he set up.
Mr Wright said: “I requested the Chief Constable urgently consider the report findings and identify additional lessons learnt, over and above those identified by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of the Constabulary in their inspection which I commissioned last year.
“I’m reassured the Chief Constable has already acted on this, by initiating a fully independent investigation into the force’s handling of CSE, as well as entering into discussions with the professor and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“The task force I set up last year to deal with historic cases of CSE will be instrumental in ensuring lessons are learnt for the sake of improving services to victims and protecting our most vulnerable people from those who commit these atrocious crimes.”
n Rotherham Minster will be open specially next Tuesday, from 9am to 6pm, for people to pray about the Rotherham scandal.