The speed limit on the M1 between Sheffield and Rotherham will be cut to 60mph to help reduce carbon emissions.
Ringleader of Rotherham child sexual abuse gang jailed for 35 years Judge praises ‘immeasurable courage’ of victims as three brothers are jailed for between 19 and 35 years for leading exploitation…
South Yorkshire Police’s district commander for Rotherham Jason Harwin has explained why the force has not opted to internally discipline its staff over the Rotherham child sex exploitation scandal.
‘……………By Martin Evans, Crime Correspondent
National Crime Agency says new investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham identifies estimated 300 possible suspects
At least 300 possible suspects have been identified by investigators probing the Rotherham child sex exploitation scandal.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said most of the potential suspects were Asian men, while the vast majority of victims were young British girls.
The NCA launched a major investigation into the scandal after a damning report by Professor Alex Jay last year, revealed that as many as 1,400 children had been raped, trafficked and groomed by mainly Asian gangs in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013.
Following the revelations South Yorkshire police, which was criticised for its handling of abuse allegations, asked the NCA to intervene and the agency launched Operation Stovewood.
The report, which was published in August last year and was highly critical of police and local authority actions over 16 years, shocked the nation andled to a wave of high-profile resignations.
Trevor Pearce, the officer in overall charge of the investigation said so far the number of potential offenders was in the low hundreds, but he acknowledged some of the names gathered could have been duplicated.
Steve Baldwin, the senior investigating officer, said more than 3,300 lines of inquiry had been identified so far and the investigation would take some time to complete.
He said: “The abuse that has taken place in Rotherham is horrific. We have gathered a huge amount of information which details some very disturbing events.”
He said work to identify all the victims was ongoing, but the figure of 1,400 that appeared in Professor Jay’s report was a “good estimate”.
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The NCA confirmed that two of those under investigation are serving or former Rotherham councillors.
Mr Baldwin said his team was prioritising those suspects who still posed a threat and had committed the most serious offences.
But he said: “I want to assure all victims that we will examine all allegations of abuse and, most importantly, we will listen to victims.”
A spokesman for the NSPCC said: “The scale of child sexual abuse in Rotherham that continues to be uncovered is staggering. Eight years after the first victims of widespread grooming were identified the scandal is still rumbling on.
“This latest police investigation may relate to historical cases but still leaves the feeling that the dark shadow of abuse has not been lifted from the city.
“ We must hope this latest operation will finally sweep up those offenders who may still be posing a threat to children in Rotherham. No one should rest easy until all such predators are removed from the streets and victims get the justice they deserve.” ………..’
‘…………By Chris Burn, email@example.com
- Secret reports into child abuse in South Yorkshire made public today
- Senior officers given names of suspects in Sheffield and Rotherham in 2003
- Report author says abuse ‘could have been stopped’ – but police priority was burglary and car crime
Police bosses were warned almost a decade ago about Sheffield’s ‘very entrenched sexual exploitation problem’, The Star can reveal today.
But the expert analyst who made the warning – having previously provided senior officers with names of suspected offenders in Sheffield and Rotherham in 2003 – said today nothing was done with the information.
Dr Angie Heal said she was told by one senior officer such crimes were ‘awful’ – but the force’s priority was burglary and car crime.
The second report warned that abusers were able to carry on with ‘impunity’ across South Yorkshire, with particular problems in Sheffield and Rotherham.
But despite the warning, South Yorkshire Police are said to have failed to act on information about hundreds of abusers and victims in Sheffield between 2007 and 2010.
Dr Heal’s 2006 report said: “Sheffield has both an established on-street prostitution scene and a very entrenched sexual exploitation problem.
“There have been reports of sexual and physical violence perpetrated against teenage schoolgirls and adult women in Sheffield.”
Her report noted that there was a ‘reluctance’ for young victims to give information to the police and said a more ‘empathetic’ attitude was needed towards the girls.
It said: “Currently the focus is on the behaviour of those who are sexually abused and to a large extent the perpetrators of the abuse are able to carry on with impunity.”
Dr Heal told The Star she had written update reports on the situation every six months after an initial report in 2002 – but said no action ever appeared to be taken at a senior level.
She said there were differences between what was going on in Sheffield and Rotherham, such as the ethnic background of offenders.
But she said the lack of police response was similar in both places.
“It definitely wasn’t a priority,” she said.
“There was a whole mix of issues. It was around blaming the victims and not understanding the issue.
“I can’t understand why anyone told about the multiple rape of children wouldn’t respond effectively to that. There was a lack of common sense in applying basic policing practices and following the law in these cases.
“It was in the ‘too hard to deal with’ tray.
“A senior officer said to me at one point, it was awful but burglary and car crime were policing priorities set by the government.”
Dr Heal said she is frustrated nothing was done with the information she provided.
“I just feel so upset and very, very angry – the abuse could have been stopped. I feel for the victims and families and frontline staff that tried their best in such horrendous circumstances.
“There are just so many people affected by this.”
Dr Heal said she believes some improvements were made after her departure from the police by new Rotherham district commander Matt Jukes, who was in the post between 2006 and 2009.
South Yorkshire Police said today the force has ‘admitted to past failings in the way it handled child sexual exploitation’ and accepts the need for a planned inquiry ordered by crime commissioner Alan Billings in March. ……’
What has become of South Yorkshire Police?
This action or non-action regarding Child Abuse, is but another apparent failure in their duty to protect the persons of Sheffield and to fully act within the Laws of the UK. Is this another debacle of the setting of targets by Governments? When certain targets are set these targets become the priority and other areas may not be fully dealt with either by accident or design.
But this is but one area where South Yorkshire Police appear to have conducted themselves in a far but exemplary manner, others will include:
Will the truth ever be published into any or all of the above?……..’
More than 300 young people have been groomed and sexually exploited by gangs of men in Oxfordshire in the past 15 years, a damning report into the failures of police and social services to stop years of sexual torture, trafficking and rape will reveal, the Guardian has learned.
The victims, mostly girls, come predominantly from the city of Oxford, increasing concerns that the grooming and exploitation of vulnerable young people by groups of older men is not confined to the inner cities. One senior investigative source said: “If you think you haven’t got a problem in your city or town, you are just not looking for it.”
Police and social services in Oxfordshire will be heavily criticised for not doing enough to stop years of violent abuse and enslavement of six young girls, aged 11-15, by a gang of men. Such was the nature of the abuse, suffered for more than eight years by the girls, it was likened to torture. All of the victims had a background in care.
A serious case review by the Oxfordshire safeguarding children’s board, to be published on Tuesday, will condemn Thames Valley police for not believing the young girls, for treating them as if they had chosen to adopt the lifestyle, and for failing to act on repeated calls for help.
Oxfordshire social services – which had responsibility for the girls’ safety – will be equally damned for knowing they were being groomed and for failing to protect them despite compelling evidence they were in danger. One social worker told a trial that nine out of 10 of those responsible for the girls was aware of what was going on.
The serious case review has put a figure on the numbers exploited to give an idea of the scale of the problem. The report will say more than 300 young people have been subjected to grooming and abuse between 1999 and 2014 in Oxfordshire alone.
The attempt to quantify the scale of abuse mirrors the work of the Jay report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, which said 1,400 young people had been subjected to grooming and abuse between 1999 and 2013.
An insider said the report was “brutal” in its condemnation of Thames Valley police and Oxfordshire social services.
Weeks before the publication of the serious case review, the chief executive of Oxfordshire county council, Joanna Simons, announced she would be stepping down in the summer, a move questioned by the Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, who said he was “concerned at the decision and how it had been taken”.
The council said she would not be replaced and the authority was reorganising its management structure. In a joint message with the council in January, Simons said that in order to protect frontline services, the authority would be making changes to its top team which would involve the departure of the chief executive.
The case echoes the child exploitation scandals in Rotherham, Rochdale and Derby involving gangs of men of Asian background targeting white girls in care. In Oxford, however, the grooming, sexual torture and trafficking took place on the streets of the Cowley area of the city, in churchyards, parks, a guesthouse and empty flats procured for the purpose of drugging the girls and handing them around to be gang raped and brutalised.
A 12-year-old victim was branded by the men and, when she fell pregnant, subjected to a backstreet abortion in a house in Reading. Over six years, she was repeatedly raped by groups of men in what she described as “torture sex”.
Key findings in the serious case review will expose how police officers and social workers did not listen to the girls when they spoke of the abuse they were suffering, did not believe them and dismissed them.
The girls and some of their abusers crossed the police and social services radar multiple times. In 2006 alone, the police received four complaints from the young girls about the men, with their accounts corroborated in some cases. One victim reported the abuse twice to police in 2006. She told officers: “They are doing it to other girls, little girls with their school uniforms on.”
There were thousands of contacts between both agencies and the girls and they were reported missing at least 450 times. One victim, known as Girl C, has spoken of how her foster mother reported her missing 80 times.
The number of young people identified by the report – more than 300 – as victims of child sexual exploitation in the last 15 years is considered a robust figure because the girls have all been spoken to by police or social services.
But the numbers are likely to be an underestimate. Figures from Thames Valley police reveal that 220 of the 2,000 child abuse cases reported across the force in 13 months from July 2013 to August 2014involved child sexual exploitation.
Nearly 700 children and young people suspected of being at risk of exploitation have been referred to new specialist police and social services units in Thames Valley between November 2012 and November 2014; 250 in Berkshire, 237 in Buckinghamshire and 206 in Oxfordshire.
It was not until 2011 when DCI Simon Morton trawled through missing persons reports, health records and social services data that Thames Valley police began to link the girls’ repeated patterns of going missing, returning and going missing again with the activities of the men – some of whom were known to police for drug crimes.
After a groundbreaking two-year investigation, Operation Bullfinch, seven men – including two sets of brothers – were convicted at the Old Bailey in May 2013 of 43 offences, which included trafficking, forcing girls into prostitution, procuring an illegal abortion, rape and physical violence.
Brothers Akhtar and Anjum Dogar, Bassam and Mohammed Karrar, Kamar Jamil, Zeeshan Ahmed and Assad Hussain, who were all from Oxford, were given sentences ranging from a minimum of seven to 20 years in prison.