Police officer took bribes from grooming gang, claims charity
Published at 12:01AM, October 18 2014
A corrupt police officer was on the payroll of men who targeted and sexually abused children in Rotherham, a charity worker has claimed.
The rogue officer is said to have passed information to grooming networks, undermining efforts to protect girls and target offenders.
An independent inquiry has estimated that 1,400 children in the South Yorkshire town were subjected to abuse over 16 years from 1997. Victims were often blamed for the crimes committed against them, while no action was taken on the perpetrators .
The corruption allegation, against an unnamed police officer, was made in evidence to MPs by a charity that supports the families of exploited children.
Pace (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) employed a family support worker in Rotherham from 2002 until 2006. She was said to have faced an extremely difficult working environment, with hostility from RMBC Rotherham council, inaction from South Yorkshire Police and intimidation by perpetrators .
This project worker believes at least one police officer was undermining her work and potentially putting her personally at risk as he/she was being paid by pimps/groomers for information, the charity said in a written submission to a parliamentary inquiry.
Former abuse victims have told The Times that some police officers in Rotherham were on friendly terms with the men using and selling girls for sex.
A South Yorkshire police spokeswoman said yesterday that the force had made contact with the charity to commence comprehensive inquiries into the allegation.
The Commons home affairs select committee calls today for a full investigation into whether an orchestrated cover-up was ordered to hide the extent of sex-grooming crimes in Rotherham.
MPs made the recommendation after hearing evidence that key files, containing information about child sexual exploitation that was due to be passed to the Home Office, were stolen from a council office in 2002.
Keith Vaz, the committee s chairman, said: The proliferation of revelations about files which can no longer be located gives rise to public suspicion of a deliberate cover-up.
In a report published today, the home affairs committee has also produced a draft parliamentary bill that would provide a mechanism to remove elected police and crime commissioners from their posts.
Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire s commissioner, defied public calls for his departure for three weeks before he finally resigned last
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In August, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council was heavily criticised for failing to protect 1,400 children and young people between 11 and 16.
The victims were groomed and abused by older gangs of men, predominantly of Pakistani origin, between 1997 and 2013.
Tony Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, has now confirmed he has asked for a review of such cases, including the force s ability to identify incidents of child sexual exploitation, support victims and pursue offenders, to be carried out.
The reports into Rotherham and revelations of similar incidents in Oxford as well as the emergence of events in Rochdale and other places show that Rotherham is not an isolated incident, a spokesman for the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) said.
Until we have completed internal work we must assume that the risk exists that there could be a Rotherham here, as there could be anywhere.
He added: Mr Hogg has asked Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer to examine our response to these issues and to provide him with assurance.
Mr Hogg expects to receive this report in the next month.
Allegations of assault, harassment and unlawful arrest were among the hundreds of complaints made against South Yorkshire Police in a year, new figures reveal.
Some 388 cases were investigated by the force s professional standards department, and included 124 claims of officers, special constables or other police workers showing incivility, impoliteness and intolerance . There were five allegations of sexual assault, 15 of corrupt practice, and 30 of mishandling property. Data for the year to March, obtained by The Star under its Your Right To Know campaign, found five arrests were later made as a result of public complaints – and another 101 conduct cases were referred to the unit.
Detective Superintendent Terry Mann, head of the professional standards department, told The Star that upholding standards and the integrity of the force is a priority . We continue to make sure police officers and staff are acting appropriately and standards are being withheld, he said. At every opportunity the department ensures thorough and professional investigations take place in support of victims making complaints – and ensures we deal with cases where we do go wrong.
South Yorkshire Police wants to be transparent and open and is making great strides in achieving that. Where we do find evidence of gross misconduct, we do whatever we can to ensure the truth comes out. Sheffield complaints totalled 340 between April 2012 and March 2013, while there were 135 in Rotherham, 116 in Barnsley, 126 in Doncaster, and 100 others throughout the force.
The majority, at 142 incidents, were dealt with by local resolution where a solution such as a formal apology is found. Ten complaints were upheld, which can result in misconduct hearings or meetings leading to sanctions such as warnings or dismissals. There were 58 not upheld and 29 dispensed with – which can often happen after court proceedings find defendants guilty.
DCI Mark Foster, who leads the complaints section, said the majority of cases were about improving staff standards and training.
He added: There aren t many cases where we find such wrongdoing that they do end up sending cases to a misconduct meeting or hearing.
With complaints from the public the complainant has a right of appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to get fairness, and the vast majority of cases show that, where we have made a mistake, it has been a mistake, not serious wrongdoing.