Investigations underway into 33 South Yorkshire Police officers over child sexual exploitation scandal

Professor Alexis Jay's report into CSE in Rotherham was published in 2014
Professor Alexis Jay's report into CSE in Rotherham was published in 2014

Investigations are underway into 33 serving and former police officers over the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct revealed today that it is currently carrying out 98 investigations into allegations made against police officers over their handling of cases - compared to 62 this time last year.

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Figures released show that since Operation Linden was launched in the wake of the CSE scandal, 45 investigation reports have been completed.

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South Yorkshire Police came under the spotlight when an independent report into CSE in Rotherham revealed that 1,400 children were groomed and abused in the town between 1997 and 2013 while those in authority failed to act.

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The National Crime Agency, which is investigating historic sex offences committed in the town, said 1,510 victims have now been identified.

Around £10 million has been spent so far on investigating the historic cases.

One comprehensive report on the investigations into allegations made about police officers will be published when they are all complete.

A spokesman said 'some of the investigations concluded so far have identified potential misconduct'

He added: "In some of the investigations where we haven’t found misconduct we have put forward interim learning recommendations, particularly around the recording of information and the retention of archived materials."

IOPC Acting Deputy Director of Major Investigations, Steve Noonan, said: "Every allegation put to us is treated sensitively and the welfare of survivors is always paramount.

"We are supporting 53 survivors and a number of complainants through a very difficult period, when they are also being asked to give evidence to the National Crime Agency to support their investigations into the terrible crimes committed in Rotherham.

"We would like to thank the survivors and everyone affected by our investigations for their patience and co-operation while we continue with this very important work.

"Operation Linden is the second largest independent investigation we have ever carried out, and both the complexities involved and the size of the task should not be under-estimated. We have a dedicated team of 35 investigators and support staff in place who have analysed more than 15,139 documents and pieces of evidence so far.

"We are determined that every investigation is carried out thoroughly and that every available line of enquiry is looked at in detail.

"As well as the sensitivities involved in engaging with survivors, we are also dealing with evidence that sometimes dates back to the late 1990s.

"The time frames involved are very challenging and in a significant number of cases we are unable to identify the officers involved. However, even where we’ve been unable to identify officers, we will still conclude our investigations to see if any conduct or learning can be identified.

"We will publish an over-arching report; combining the outcomes of our investigations when they are all complete.

"Our aim is to not only highlight any conduct matters relating to individual officers but, crucially, to share our understanding of why such serious allegations often weren’t investigated and how this can be avoided in the future.

"Ultimately, we want those affected to be confident that their complaints have been comprehensively investigated, and for South Yorkshire Police and indeed all forces across the country to learn from our findings."