South Yorkshire Police “fully accept” findings of Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation probe
A South Yorkshire Police chief says the force “fully accepts” the findings of a probe into how they handled claims of child sexual exploitation.
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 has today (November 23) published 12 recommendations, in a bid to tackle “systemic issues” identified during the operation, which encompassed 91 separate investigations.
The investigation probed 265 separate allegations.
There were 51 complainants, 44 of whom were survivors of abuse.
The IOPC 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.
In many cases, the officer had retired and due to legislation in place at the time, could not face disciplinary proceedings.
Tim Forber, deputy chief constable for South Yorkshire Police said: “We fully accept the findings of the IOPC report.
“Since the Alexis Jay Report in 2014, South Yorkshire Police has developed a far deeper and more meaningful understanding of child sexual exploitation. Those who bravely spoke out about the harm they suffered, shone a light on our failings and became a catalyst for change, change which continues today.
“This is a journey of continuous improvement.
“There will always be more to do and we have a determined focus on this complex area of crime. We continue to work closely with our partners within Rotherham and specialists in this area of work to support this development.
“CSE remains an issue both in Rotherham and across the country.
“There will always be people who want to cause harm to children but our commitment remains firm. We are improving all of the time in spotting the early signs, preventing and detecting crimes and most importantly, safeguarding those at risk.”
Steve Noonan, the IOPC’s director of major investigations said: “Survivors of abuse will no doubt be deeply concerned, as are we, that some of these problems still exist today and we urge the police to act on these recommendations urgently to provide much needed reassurance to the public.
“It is a tragedy that so many of the survivors we spoke to now have criminal records as a result of their actions while being exploited and there must be action across the judicial system to protect vulnerable young people and safeguard their futures.”
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