Politician’s call for investigation into police force

Paul Scriven.
Paul Scriven.
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A call for an independent investigation into the performance of South Yorkshire Police over the Rotherham sex abuse scandal will be made in the House of Lords today.

Lord Paul Scriven is asking a question over the force’s ‘lack of progress’ in dealing with problems arising from Rotherham child sexual exploitation cases after the Jay report last year.

He will ask the Home Office Minister to order an independent investigation into South Yorkshire Police, similar to the recent Casey report into Rotherham Council.

He said: “It is time that the spotlight was well and truly focused on our local police force as they have stayed in the shadows and not received the scrutiny needed to highlight their failings in ensuring that they make the many changes that are needed.

“I am not going to let this drop, South Yorkshire Police senior management team have been silent and hiding from the truth for too long. “For the children and young people’s whose lives have been destroyed by what happened in Rotherham it is now time to clear up serious police failings - I will not rest until that happens.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “There has been a high level of scrutiny around the way South Yorkshire Police has handled child sexual exploitation in the past and we completely understand and accept this needs to take place.

“This scrutiny includes an ongoing independent investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, inspections by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and being held to account by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of police officers and staff dedicated to tackling child sexual exploitation and we are absolutely committed to achieving justice, stopping the harm and preventing future offending.

“However, we accept more needs to be done and we continue to invest in further training to ensure we continue to improve our service to victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation.

“Between April 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, the force received reports of 213 child sexual exploitation-related offences.

“Following thorough investigations, 45 people were charged or summoned to court in connection with 49 of those offences.

“A number of complex investigations are still ongoing into many of those offences.”

■The government has announced £1.2m of funding to pay for training and support for South Yorkshire children at risk of sexual exploitation.

The money will be used by Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster Councils to help families at risk of child sexual exploitation.

The announcement was made by Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson at the No10 Child Sexual Exploitation Summit.