Rotherham child sexual exploitation: Police chief pledges to continue driving improvements after report finds 'no evidence' CSE is occurring on 'same scale as the past'

A police chief has pledged to continue to drive improvements within the force after a report found there is ‘no evidence’ child sexual exploitation is occurring ‘on the same scale’ as in the past in Rotherham.

The Rotherham Conservative group told a full council meeting in November that a working group made up of Conservative councillors had found “multiple examples of active grooming and CSE in multiple locations across Rotherham”.

The motion called for the council to acknowledge that “CSE may be occurring on the same scale as in the past.”

The report alleged that teenage girls had been given mobile phones by older Asian men, and are being picked up late at night; that girls are being sold for sex from a petrol station and takeaway shop, and that girls are being taken by older Asian men to a fast-food restaurant, and then other men are taking them to locations across the north of England.

The report states that the police and council's response to information provided by the Conservative group was "effective and robust", and that the "specific allegations" from the briefing paper were "not founded".

Following the allegations, chief officers from RMBC, South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissioned the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) to undertake an independent review to examine the concerns raised “in an objective and transparent way.”

A report to be probed by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Friday (May 27) outlines a review which was completed on March 14 by the partnership, which is made up of chair Jenny Myers, former head of public protection for Derbyshire Police Matt Thompson, and Jenny Coles, a registered social worker and former strategic director of children.

The group reviewed South Yorkshire Police and RMBC’s response to CSE concerns, and the actions taken following the allegations.

The report states that the police and council’s response to information provided by the Conservative group was “effective and robust”, and that the “specific allegations” from the briefing paper were “not founded”.

The report adds that “The review team has found no evidence that CSE may be occurring on the same scale as the past”, and the team “found no new evidence that SYP in Rotherham currently deny that CSE is acontinuing problem.”

It adds that a weekly Child Exploitation Tasking Group, chaired by South Yorkshire Police, and made up of RMBC’s licensing teams and anti-social behaviour officers, youth offending team and Barnardo’s, “review all new intelligence submissions, try and understand the concerns, map, and put into place plans and actions to mitigate or eliminate the risk”.

There were very few areas where the review considered the strategy to prevent CSE could be tighter, the report adds.

Rotherham Superintendent Andy Wright told the local democracy reporting service: “We welcome the independent report which clearly sets out the significant changes we have made to our approach since the findings of the Jay Report.

“Working with Rotherham Council, and in taking on board the views of those who have suffered at the hands of abusers in Rotherham, we have taken that learning and embedded it for the last seven years to arrive at where we are today.

“However, we absolutely recognise this is not the end of the journey.

“We will continue to drive our own improvements and those of the police service nationally to properly address CSE without fear or favour in this form and all of those which continue to emerge.”