Galway Girl Ed Sheeran
26 August 2015, 12:47
Investigators looking at how the police treated complaints of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham say they are now working to identify more than 100 officers.
The Independent Police Complaint Commission (IPCC) said it is continuing to examine police conduct exactly a year on from the publication of the Jay Report, which shocked the nation with the scale of child rape, trafficking and grooming it uncovered in the South Yorkshire town.
Professor Alexis Jay's report described how more than 1,400 children were sexually exploited by gangs of mainly Asian males in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
And it was scathing about a culture among police and council officials which ignored the industrial scale of abuse, instead treating the victims of CSE as troublesome teenagers.
The IPCC says it has received 47 referrals from South Yorkshire Police since the publication of the Jay Report, involving more than 100 allegations.
A spokeswoman said: ``Analysis of all the referrals has so far identified more than 60 officers.
``Further assessments are being carried out to establish the specific allegations against these individuals to determine what further actions are needed. Work is ongoing to identify more than 100 officers who are referenced in the referrals but are unnamed.''
The Jay Report was commissioned by the council after a high profile CSE trial and a series of damning stories in The Times about what was happening in the town.
Its impact was generated by the sheer scale of offending that it outlined and the horrific details it included of what had happened to girls as young as 11.
Prof Jay said at the time she had found ''utterly appalling'' examples of ''children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone''.
She said: ''They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.''
Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police were roundly criticised in its wake and a series off high profiles resignations culminated in the departure of South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, who was the councillor in charge of Rotherham's children's services between 2005 and 2010.
A further review of Rotherham Council by the Government's Troubled Families chief, Louise Casey, heaped more criticism on an authority she labelled as ``not fit for purpose'' and ``in denial'' and the then communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles handed over its powers to a panel of appointed commissioners.
Both the council and the police say their focus over the last 12 months has been on building trust among survivors.
South Yorkshire Police says it now has a team of more than 60 officers working on child sexual exploitation and the National Crime Agency has been brought in to investigate historical crimes.
A £3 million initiative was announced earlier this month which will see a Barnardo's team of specialist workers work with children at risk of being sexually exploited.
But, earlier this week, a solicitor representing 58 women who were subjected to CSE in Rotherham said only a fraction of victims had come forward.
David Greenwood said he believes fewer than 100 of the girls involved have engaged with the raft of new inquiries. He said that the police and council have made progress in the town in the last 12 months but that he believes many survivors will only trust the system once a truly independent agency is brought in.