South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton has been urged to quit over the force’s handling of the child abuse scandal.
Lord Scriven, the former leader of Sheffield City Council, said it was time for Mr Crompton to step down following a critical new report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
The HMIC said the force still needs to make ‘major improvements’ to its child protection procedures in the wake of the Rotherham scandal.
Lord Scriven told ITV Calendar News the report showed that police were not taking the right action to remove children from vulnerable situations.
He said: “I’ve taken the view enough is enough. I said about a year ago that the jury was out on the senior management team at South Yorkshire Police, including the Chief Constable. I’ve now come to the view, reluctantly, that it needs to happen and the Chief Constable needs to go.
“It’s quite clear that those at the top are talking a good talk but when independent people go in it shows that on the ground young people are not being believed, reporting is hap hazardous at best and that actually in quite vulnerable situations where children are at risk that the police on the ground are not taking the type of action to take those children out of harm or at least keep them in a safe place so the chief constable has to go.”
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said a national strategy to tackle child abuse was needed.
The MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford said: “The Home Secretary cannot just leave this to individual police forces, she needs to set out a national plan because not enough is being done to address this truly horrific crime.
“Despite some signs of progress, children in Rotherham are still at risk of terrible abuse. After years of children’s voices being ignored and dismissed, it is awful this is still happening and that too many children at risk of abuse are not being identified.”
South Yorkshire Police was heavily criticised in last year’s Jay Report, which exposed how at least 1,400 children had been subjected to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
Professor Alexis Jay criticised officers for ‘regarding many child victims with contempt’.
HMIC inspectors audited 28 child protection cases and found two were assessed as good, 19 requiring improvement and seven inadequate.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is currently investigating how South Yorkshire Police officers dealt with cases in Rotherham, with more than 100 complaints made against over 40 past and current officers. The National Crime Agency has also begun a major fresh investigation of allegations of child sexual exploitation in the town, which is expected to potentially last up to three years.
Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee said safeguarding children was ‘paramount’ for South Yorkshire Police but more needed to be done. She added: “There has been a considerable increase in the number of police officers and staff in our public protection units, and also staff dedicated to tackling child sexual exploitation. We are absolutely committed to achieving justice, stopping harm and preventing future offending.”