Rotherham’s top police officer has apologised to victims of sexual abuse in the town.
District commander chief superintendent Jason Harwin said mistakes had been made in dealing with reports of abuse, following guilty verdicts in the two-month abuse trial.
Brothers Arshid and Basharat Hussain were found guilty of multiple rapes and indecent assaults of teenagers in Rotherham. A third brother, Bannaras Hussain, 36, admitted 10 charges including rape, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the beginning of the trial.
Karen MacGregor, 58, and Shelley Davies, 40, were found guilty of conspiracy to procure prostitutes and false imprisonment.
Brothers Majid Bostan, 37 and Sajid Bostan, 38, were cleared of all charges at Sheffield Crown Court.
During the trial, victims said they were ignored when they tried to speak about their abuse.
After the verdicts were read out, chief supt Harwin said: “I’ve said it before. We’re sorry. As a public servant and ultimately as a member of the police my duty is to protect the public. My duty as the commander for Rotherham is to make sure we protect not just young people but all of Rotherham as well.”
The Independent Complaints Commission is investigating a number of complaints against South Yorkshire Police in relation to sexual abuse in Rotherham. Chief supt Harwin accepted the need for the investigation, but said victims of sexual abuse should not be discouraged from coming forward.
“If people have made those mistakes they need to be held to account to why they have done it.
“If people are out there now who have been a victim in the past or a victim now, please come forward. You will be listened to.”
He added: “What is important for us is that this is just a continuation of the journey we face in Rotherham to make sure we make it very, very clear that if people are out there exploiting people that will not be tolerated and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice. The important thing though is that we need people to have confidence and trust to come forward. Hopefully from the experience that the survivors have had that will actually give more people the confidence to come forward.”