Probe into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of child sexual exploitation “deeply concerning” says MP

The findings of an investigation into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of reports of child sexual exploitation are “deeply concerning”, says Rotherham’s MP.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 1:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 3:00 pm

A damning report which lays out the findings of a seven-year investigation into South Yorkshire Police’s response to non-recent child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has been published today (November 23).

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched Operation Linden in 2014, after a “significant number of complaints and allegations” were made, about the force’s response to reports of CSE.

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Rotherham's MP Sarah Champion welcomed the publication of the findings, adding there is "much more to do".

Operation Linden investigated 265 separate allegations, covering the period from 1997 to 2013.

It found “many instances where crimes were not recorded when they should have been, including reports of sexual assault or sexual activity with a child.”

The operation investigated the conduct of 47 officers: eight were found to have a case to answer for misconduct and six had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

Five have faced sanctions from management action up to a final written warning, while one hearing is still outstanding.

Rotherham’s MP Sarah Champion welcomed the publication of the findings, adding there is “much more to do”.

“While it is clear from the report that South Yorkshire Police has improved its approach to tacking Child Sexual Exploitation, it is equally clear that there is much more to do to ensure that all victims and survivors of CSE receive the level of service, care and support to which they are entitled,” Ms Champion said.

“It is deeply concerning that the report suggests that improvements made following inspections of South Yorkshire Police in 2014 may have stalled, or even deteriorated in some areas.

“I am also troubled that the report found that crimes involving vulnerable adults and children reported directly to South Yorkshire Police’s public protection department were not always being recorded.

“It is crucial that all reports of possible CSE are recorded, even where it does not prove possible to pursue further action.

“Without accurate records, warning signs can be missed, and victims left vulnerable to further exploitation.

“South Yorkshire Police must rectify this as a matter of urgency.’

‘The publication of the report provides a valuable opportunity for South Yorkshire Police to reflect on how it tackles Child Sexual Exploitation.

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