PCC expects police to implement recommendations from CSE investigation
South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner says he expects police to implement recommendations from the police watchdog, following a probe into the force’s handing of historic Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
A South Yorkshire Police chief said the force “fully accepts” the findings of a probe into how they handled claims of child sexual exploitation, which was published today (November 23).
Operation Linden was the name given to the IOPC investigation of a “significant number of complaints” relating to the police response to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
The IOPC found eight police officers were found to have a case to answer for misconduct and six had a case to answer for gross misconduct, five faced sanctions from management, and one hearing is still outstanding.In some cases, the officer had retired and due to legislation in place at the time, could not face disciplinary proceedings.
Twelve recommendations were made in a bid to improve the treatment of survivors and “ensure officers are better equipped to investigate these offences”.
Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “South Yorkshire Police has undergone a period of reflective learning and transformation and has already made progress in some of the areas the IOPC makes recommendations on.
“I now expect SYP to accept all the recommendations in this report and implement them appropriately. I will ask them to account for that at my monthly Public Accountability Board meetings, where CSE is regularly reported on.
“I will ask for regular updates on how training takes into account staff turnover, and how the force is keeping abreast of any emerging issues and best practice, but I am pleased the report notes the training delivered in conjunction with Sheffield University and Barnardo’s.
“The report urges the force to listen to victims but does not reference that one of the first things I did as Police and Crime Commissioner was to set up a Victims, Survivors and their Families Panel in 2014 to hear directly from those exploited and their families.
“This Panel necessarily met in private, but I have made reference to the Panel in a number of public documents.
“The Panel enabled me to understand how grooming worked. Although at first the victims did not want to meet the police, from 2015 they began to speak to police officers and this had a significant impact on police learning and training here in South Yorkshire.
“As far as the recording of crimes goes, I have approved funding for this to be strengthened and will be looking for improvements.
“I note the valuable role the Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) perform in supporting victims of CSE – the ISVA service being funded by my office.
“I also support – and have done for some time – the recommendation that those victims of CSE who were coerced into committing crimes should have these crimes removed from their criminal records – Sammy’s Law.”
A final hearing has been arranged by South Yorkshire Police and will take place in early 2022.
If you have been affected by the subject of this article, please contact the Rotherham Abuse Counselling service on: 01709 835482 or at [email protected]
Rape Crisis national helpline: 0808 802 9999