A major investigation into allegations of police corruption relating to the Rotherham child abuse scandal is under way after a two-month trial highlighted apparent collusion between officers and offenders.
During the course of the trial at Sheffield Crown Court, allegations were made that South Yorkshire Police officers had passed information and drugs to a Rotherham child grooming ring and acted to protect serial child abusers Arshid and Basharat Hussain from prosecution.
One victim also alleged a detective at the force ‘had sex with girls’ linked to the grooming gang.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed today it has received a combined 194 complaints from 41 people about the conduct of police officers in relation to Rotherham child sexual exploitation cases.
The IPCC is now involved in 55 investigations into the complaints, which it says ‘cover a range of allegations from a failure to act on reported child sexual exploitation to corruption by police officers’.
But it was unable to confirm precisely how many complaints relate to allegations of corruption.
Research is now taking place into all the complaints – with 102 of them relating to officers who are yet to be identified.
The other 92 allegations relate to 54 named officers – 26 of whom are under notice they are the subject of misconduct investigations.
Decisions on whether misconduct notices will be served on the other 28 identified officers are yet to be made.
IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said: “Our investigative work examining allegations about how South Yorkshire Police responded to reported child sexual exploitation in Rotherham continues to expand.
“This is complex work dealing with non-recent allegations and involving vulnerable and traumatised victims.
“We are committed to ensuring the allegations are investigated sensitively and thoroughly.”
During the trial, the jury was told that an unnamed detective in CID was being paid to protect Basharat Hussain from arrest.
One of Hussain’s victims said the violent offender had told her there was ‘somebody from CID he used to pay so he wouldn’t get busted’.
The now 30-year-old woman said Hussain had also been given the location of a safe house she was due to be placed in to escape him. She said Hussain, who she also alleged was involved in drug dealing and would store thousands of pounds in cash in shoeboxes in his car, used to regularly meet the detective in an Aldi car park. Another victim told the jury a detective named Ken Dawes ‘used to have sex with girls’ and had passed drugs to a member of the grooming ring.
The now 36-year-old woman – known in the trial as Girl B – also alleged Dawes had failed to act after she told him details about the abuse she was being subjected to.
Agreed facts read to the jury about Dawes confirmed he had been demoted to a PC in 2004 and transferred to Sheffield in relation to a misconduct hearing relating to unauthorised contact with covert sources.
The facts stated Dawes was arrested in May 2015 on suspicion of committing misconduct in a public office and in interview had denied any wrongdoing.
The court was also told Dawes is under investigation from the IPCC in relation to allegations from two of the complainants in the case.
One of the complaints was from Girl B in relation to her allegation that while living in a Rotherham children’s home in the 1990s at the age of 13 or 14 she had reported sexual abuse to him and he failed to take any action.
The other victim – Girl G – has made a complaint that in 2002/03 Dawes had ‘passed on information to associates of a man charged with an offence of violence’ that she had made a witness statement against him.
She alleges she received threats of violence as a result and has also said she witnessed Dawes ‘supplying Class A drugs to others’.
The IPCC are also investigating Dawes for ‘accessing South Yorkshire Police intelligence databases without legitimate policing purpose’.
The court was told Dawes had searched for the names of Arshid Hussain, Basharat Hussain and Girl G on four occasions each between 2006 and 2010. Both the criminal and IPCC investigations against Dawes, who is currently suspended from duty but remains a South Yorkshire Police officer despite passing the retirement age of 60, are ongoing.
Evidence was also given in court in relation to allegations involving PC Hassan Ali, an officer who died last year after being involved in a fatal collision with a car.
During the course of the trial, the court heard PC Ali had allegedly been involved in a ‘no prosecution’ deal for abuse ringleader Arshid Hussain in relation to a missing 14-year-old pregnant teenager, known as Girl J.
The jury found Hussain guilty of an abduction charge in relation to the incident. Agreed facts given to the jury said PC Ali was under investigation by the IPCC in relation to the five complaints against him including allegations of ‘corrupt practice’.
Three of the complaints against him related to Girl J, who had a child when she was 15 as a result of her abuse from Arshid Hussain.
They included two allegations of ‘corrupt practice’ – one stating that PC Ali had asked the girl on a date and the second saying he had provided her with a picture of Arshid Hussain taken from a confidential police database. The third allegation of ‘neglect/failure in duty’ said PC Ali had been involved in an arrangement where a child in the company of Arshid Hussain ‘would be handed over to the police and in return he would not be investigated by the police’.
The two other complaints against him are also of ‘neglect/failure in duty’ – one alleging he failed to properly investigate an allegation that a child had been taken from her parent and locked in a house overnight and the second claiming he had failed to properly inquire into the identity of a child found on the street at night. The court was also told during the trial that PC Ali had ‘conducted research’ on the police database into defendants Arshid Hussain and his brother Basharat Hussain.
He searched for the name of Arshid Hussain in January 2008 and the name of Basharat Hussain in October 2007 and December 2011.
Another victim in the trial – Girl C – told the court that when she was 12 and living in a children’s home she attempted to report her abuse at the hands of Basharat Hussain to a police officer.
She said the officer, known to girls at the home as ‘Kimble The Thimble’, had driven her down a country lane, called her a liar and ripped up paperwork in front of her.
Girl D also alleged in her evidence police officers had been passing information to the brothers.
“The police gave them a free card to do what they wanted. How could us women go to police officers and tell them all these things when they would go straight back and tell them?”
The woman said after police had contacted her as an adult about potentially giving evidence against the Hussains, a man had threatened her by putting a gun in her mouth and warning her not to speak about the brothers.