Senior police officers to be investigated over Rotherham child sex abuse scandal

Prof Alexis Jay's report lifted the lid on the scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013
Prof Alexis Jay's report lifted the lid on the scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013

Senior police officers are to be investigated over their failure to prevent widespread child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, it is claimed.

The police watchdog has reportedly written to abuse survivors informing them that the actions of senior ranking police officers in post when child sex abuse went largely unchallenged are to be examined.

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According to Sky News, the Independent Office For Police Conduct has sent a letter to survivors saying: "We are extending our investigation and will be looking into the actions of senior officers who were in charge of the force at the relevant time.

"The main allegation within the complaint is that senior officers from SYP failed in their statutory duty to protect children between 1999 and 2011."

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In 2014, a report by Professor Alexis Jay found at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited by gangs of predominantly Pakistani heritage between 1997 and 2013 while those in authority failed to act.

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Earlier this year, the National Crime Agency, which is investigating the historic cases of abuse, said the number of victims had risen to 1,510.
The police watchdog, which is investigating the actions of police officers, is believed to be now concentrating on the actions of senior officers and why reports identifying child sexual exploitation in Rotherham as a serious issue were ignored.

Former South Yorkshire Police employee Dr Angie Heal wrote a series of reports about CSE for the force between 2003 and 2006.

They were referred in Prof Jay's report on the scandal, where she said they presented 'a vivid and alarming picture of the links between sexual exploitation, drugs, gangs and violent crime in Rotherham' but that they were 'ignored and no action was taken'.

In 2015, Dr Angie Heal, who was a drugs analyst for South Yorkshire Police when she wrote her reports, said one of them in 2006 was sent to around 90 people, including high ranking officers and different agencies involved with the protection of children.

But Med Hughes, South Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable at the time the 2006 report, told MPs in 2014 that he had not seen Dr Heal’s reports and had had ‘no understanding of the scale and the scope of the problems that have come to light’.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "We continue to work with the IOPC in relation to their investigation into non-recent allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham.

"While we are awaiting the exact parameters of their investigation, it is independent and ongoing and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."