‘Probe police’ over Rotherham abuse

Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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The author of a withering report on Rotherham council’s failure to tackle monumental levels of child sexual exploitation (CSE) has told MPs that South Yorkshire Police should face the same level of scrutiny over their “failure”.

Louise Casey’s inspection report earlier this month painted a picture of a local authority in denial about about how more than 1,400 children had been subjected to rape, violence and trafficking by gangs of mainly Asian men.

It led to the Government replacing Rotherham’s entire political leadership with commissioners and widespread condemnation of the council.

Today, Ms Casey told a committee of MPs she “left no stone unturned” in her inspection and believed South Yorkshire Police’s failures in relation to CSE in Rotherham should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny.

She told the Commons Communities Committee: “The police, South Yorkshire Police more generally, need to look at their failure to the victims of Rotherham, full stop.”

She said: ” Every member of staff that we asked to see had to see us or else we would infer something negative. We could look at any document we wanted to look at. We left no stoned unturned. We took much longer than I know colleagues wanted us to because we wanted to be utterly thorough.

“In my view that same scrutiny has not happened with South Yorkshire Police.”

Ms Casey told the committee that some police officers had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) so their actions in relation to Rotherham CSE allegations could be investigated.

But she said: “My point is that that’s too easy a solution.”

Admitting she might be talking outside her remit, she said: “The police have to step up and accept the same level of responsibility to those victims and those perpetrators as the local authority.

“We were asked to inspect Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and we left no stone unturned. It’s a pretty thorough and damning report. The same level of scrutiny has not happened … to the police in Rotherham over that time.”

Asked if that should now happen, Ms Casey said: “In my view it should happen, yes.”

The Casey report criticised a council which it said had a culture of bullying, “misplaced political correctness” and silencing whistleblowers who tried to speak out.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles responded to the report by announcing that the council’s “wholly dysfunctional” ruling Labour cabinet would be replaced by commissioners.

He also announced the whole council would be put up for election in 2016.

Mr Pickles made his announcement moments after the authority’s entire cabinet announced its intention to resign in the wake of the Casey report, which was ordered by the secretary of state following last year’s Jay report, which outlined the scale of the problem in the town.

Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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