NCA to hire 50 more officers for 'unparalleled' Rotherham abuse scandal investigation

The investigation into the Rotherham abuse scandal is gathering pace
The investigation into the Rotherham abuse scandal is gathering pace
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More than 50 officers from across the country are to join the huge criminal investigation into the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

The National Crime Agency, which is running Operation Stovewood, is looking to hire 51 police officers on two-year secondments from their current jobs.

The agency is expanding the size of its investigation team to 117 people.

Nine arrests have been made so far as part of the investigation, which is focused on allegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 - the period covered by the Jay report which estimated there were at least 1,400 victims in the town.

A job advert on the NCA website said Stovewood is 'without doubt the largest ever investigation into non recent child sexual exploitation ever undertaken by law enforcement'.

It said: "The NCA is leading a major investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse in Rotherham and we are growing our team to ensure that we continue to focus on the needs of victims and survivors and drive forward our enquiries as quickly as we can.

"The complexity of the investigation is unparalleled. Many victims have been exploited or abused by different men, in different locations over a number of years.

"The majority of suspects have offended against more than one victim and have been involved in the organised trafficking of victims within Rotherham or to other towns and cities in the UK."

The NCA said it is looking to bring new officers of inspector, sergeant and constable ranks on to its team. The officers will be based at a major incident room in Sheffield.

The costs of Operation Stovewood are being paid by South Yorkshire Police. The force invited the NCA to take over the investigation after being heavily criticised in the Jay report.

In July, police commissioner Alan Billings said the operation was costing £10m a year.

The operation currently has 34 designated suspects and has prioritised making contact with 114 victims and survivors so far.

There are now 13 distinct investigations within the overall operations, eight of which are described as being ‘large-scale’.

The NCA says it is pursuing more than 10,000 lines of enquiry.

The agency has told potential applicants: "We want people committed to making a difference to those whose childhoods were literally taken away."