South Yorkshire Police has moved to defend itself after fresh allegations about its failure to act on child sex exploitation were broadcast on national TV tonight.
A BBC report on child sex abuse in Rotherham broadcast tonight revealed fresh details on the scandal.
Stolen Childhoods: The Legacy Of Grooming Panorama show featured several interviews with CSE victims.
South Yorkshire Police, in response to the programme, said it now has 198 active child sex abuse cases it is investigating.
The statement said: “The issues raised by Panorama are subject of complex investigations by either South Yorkshire Police, the National Crime Agency (NCA) or Independent Police Complaints Commission and so it would be inappropriate to comment further as this may jeopardise those investigations and Panorama is encouraged to provide us with any information they may have in support of those investigations.
South Yorkshire Police is in a very different position now to where we were just a few years ago.
That’s not to say we are getting everything right but a review co-ordinated by the NCA said officers working on current investigations are ‘conscientious, enthusiastic and focused upon providing good outcomes’ and the force’s current strategic leadership of this critical area of public protection was found to be ‘professional and appropriate.’
“We’ve now increased the size of the team dedicated to tackling CSE from nine people in 2012/2013 to 74.
“The force has commissioned the NCA to carry out an independent investigation examining criminal allegations of non-familial CSE in Rotherham for the period covered by the Alexis Jay Report.
“There are currently 198 live CSE investigations being managed by South Yorkshire Police. Just last week (w/c 8 June) a further 69 charges were brought in relation to one of the large non-recent abuse cases. This is in addition to the 58 people already charged with CSE related offences.
“To further improve our approach we have worked with our partners to develop multi-agency teams in every district, which include specialist officers from public protection, council social workers, representatives from health and education and third sector agencies such as Barnardos.
“Across the county Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs are also being established, this enables us to share information at the earliest opportunity to work together to take all of the steps necessary to prevent harm to children including child sexual exploitation.
“We are also working with our partners to strengthen the support offered to victims and survivors of CSE. The Police and Crime Commissioner has established a CSE Victims and Survivors Panel to discuss their experiences of South Yorkshire Police and partner agencies. This information is used by the force to develop staff and their handling of the victims of sexual crime in particular CSE.”