Scouts pull out of show over child safety fears

Crowds flock to the ever entertaining Rotherham Show at Clifton Park
Crowds flock to the ever entertaining Rotherham Show at Clifton Park
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Scouts have pulled out of the annual Rotherham Show this weekend because of child safety fears in the wake of the sex abuse scandal which has rocked the town.

Rotherham District Scouts group said it decided to cancel its attendance in order to protect against ‘the risk of anything happening’ to the children and adults at the show.

The decision came after a damning report into child sexual exploitation in the town revealed 1,400 children were groomed, raped and sexually abused for 16 years while those in authority took no action.

Neil Letherland, district commissioner for Rotherham District Scouts, said: “Yes we have taken our stand out of the show, and we give out the programmes, so we have taken that out as well.

“It’s really as a precaution against the risk of anything happening to the young people and the adults that go there.

“There’s a lot of tension in Rotherham at the moment, and there could be a lot of tension at the show as well.

“Anything could happen really. If you walk round Rotherham you can feel the tension, so we can’t take the risk of someone having a go at one of the young people or adults there.”

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said it respected the decision.

“The scouts have made their decision and we respect it,” he said.

Police have drafted in extra officers for the show, which is expected to pull in between 70,000 and 80,000 visitors today and tomorrow.

A spokesman for the force said: “There is no evidence to suggest any protests or disorder will take place but officers will be on hand to respond to any issues throughout the event.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield Neighbourhood Watch Association has called on the Independent Police Complaints Commission to launch an investigation into the actions of the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright.

He was the elected council member in charge of children’s services at Rotherham Council for five of the 16 years when the abuse took place.

Branch director Wendy Zealan said: “We are distressed the allegations raise reasonable doubt as to the integrity of Mr Wright as to his current role. To protect the public we request that the IPCC initiate an inquiry into Mr Wright.”