The Rotherham Conservative Group has tabled a motion to the full council meeting today (November 10), claiming they have uncovered instances of CSE in the borough which has been passed on to police, but say the response to the intelligence has been “poor”.
In his blog, published on November 8, Dr Alan Billings said the allegations are “incendiary”, and said he had investigated the claims with South Yorkshire Police’s district commander.
“Most of the allegations were so vague that it was hard to know where to begin,” wrote Dr Billings.
“Where the police were able to work out what the allegations might be referring to, they included misperceptions.
“At the time I write this, the councillors have not taken up the offer of the commander to take them through what they have alleged, nor have they approached their own Chief Executive to see what their own social services do in relation to CSE, nor have they asked me to look into this. After all, my job is precisely to hold the force to account.
“In the meantime, police officers who deal with CSE every day have been in touch with me to say how upset they are at the allegations.
“The teams that work on CSE – and there are currently some 35 active cases in the borough – are dedicated and committed officers, co-located with social workers in Riverside House.
“They are determined to safeguard our children and their work has been recognised in both Ofsted and HMI reports.
“To attack them in this public way without checking the facts is reprehensible.
“What has been alleged is untrue, but, if believed, could only undermine trust in the police and result in some people not reporting, including victims.
“I hope this is a case of inexperienced councillors not knowing what officers are doing to keep safe vulnerable children, and how passionate those officers who deal with CSE are about their work. I hope the councillors will now go and talk to the teams and learn for themselves.
“Above all, I hope this is inexperience because the alternative explanation – using something as serious as CSE to make political mischief – would be unforgivable.
“We must not jump to conclusions.”