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Watchdog probing 10 police officers


Professor Alexis Jay delivered a damning report

Professor Alexis Jay delivered a damning report

Professor Alexis Jay delivered a damning report

The conduct of 10 police officers in relation to complaints of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham will be investigated by Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the watchdog has said.

The IPCC said the South Yorkshire Police officers were all identified through the Jay Report which found that more than 1,400 children had been subjected to CSE in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Professor Alexis Jay's report criticised the way in which South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council dealt with complaints from teenage girls who said they had been rape and trafficked by gangs of mainly Asian men.

The commission said the officers are part of a group of 13 referred to the IPCC by South Yorkshire Police.

The other three officers, who were identified through a separate internal review by South Yorkshire Police rather than the Jay Report, will not face investigation at this time.

The IPCC has decided that two do not justify an investigation involving the commission at this stage and the status of the third remains under review.

IPCC Commissioner Kathryn Stone said: "The amount of public concern across the country about this episode and the impact on confidence in the police means it is important that a fully independent investigation is conducted to establish how South Yorkshire Police dealt with child sexual exploitation.

"I sincerely hope that victims and their families will see this investigation as a positive step towards answering the many questions they must have. I have met with South Yorkshire Police and am reassured by their commitment to fully cooperate with the investigation."

Professor Jay said senior police and council officials must have known what was happening but failed to act.

Today the IPCC identified seven parts of the report, which was published in August, that could lead to misconduct allegations against the officers under investigation.

These are:

:: An officer is alleged to have argued against the category of sexual abuse being used during a child protection conference because he thought that the child had been 100% consensual in every incident. This relates to one officer.

:: A named suspect was threatening a family and actively involved in encouraging the victim to engage in prostitution, according to a 2001 intelligence report, but there appears to have been be "no police activity directed around" the suspect's offending. The commission said officers have not yet been identified in relation to this allegation.

:: An allegation that evidence was lost in relation to a report in 2003 that a victim had been raped on four occasions. The offender was named and arrested. This relates to one officer.

:: An allegation of a "failure to progress an investigation" into a report from a 14-year-old girl that she had been raped. This relates to three officers.

:: An allegation of a failure to adequately investigate an incident in which a young girl was found drunk in the back of a car and an individual had indecent photographs of her on his mobile phone. The relates relates to two officers.

:: An allegation of a failure to adequately investigate naked images of a young girl and possible evidence of group offending. This relates to two officers.

:: Allegations surrounding the police response to information supplied in 2001 highlighting concerns regarding CSE issues in Rotherham and an allegation of lack of police action in response to two commissioned written reports about sexual exploitation in 2003 and 2006. This relates to one officer.

The controversy that followed the publication of the Jay Report report led to a series of high-profile resignations including Rotherham council leader Roger Stone, council chief executive Martin Kimber and council director of children's services Joyce Thacker.

The most high profile resignation was that of South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright, who was the Rotherham councillor overseeing children's services between 2005 and 2010.

South Yorkshire's chief constable David Crompton has also been under pressure to explain his force's attitude towards CSE over the last 15 years.

Mr Crompton has pledged to investigate individual cases and stressed that his force has seen a massive increase in the number of officers and other staff devoted to tackling CSE in the last couple of years.

Last month, the the National Crime Agency (NCA) announced it would lead an investigation into outstanding allegations of CSE in Rotherham.

The NCA said it was taking on the inquiry following a request from Mr Crompton.