Dozens of police officers under investigation over child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham

Professor Alexis Jay
Professor Alexis Jay

A total of 35 police officers are under investigation over the child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham - three years after a damning report laid bare the scale of the issue.

Three years ago this week, Professor Alexis Jay published a report on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, which revealed that around 1,400 children were abused between 1997 and 2013 while those in authority turned a blind eye.

Prof Jay was commissioned to write the report by Rotherham Council, with its shock findings triggering a series of resignations, including that of the council leader, chief executive and head of children's services.

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner at the time, Shaun Wright, who had previously been Rotherham Council's cabinet member responsible for children's services, also stepped down.

The National Crime Agency was drafted in to investigate historic offences over the 16 years referred to in the Jay Report and the Independent Police Complaints Commission started investigating how South Yorkshire Police handled reported child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years in question.

There are currently 35 police officers still under investigation today.

An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC’s large scale investigation into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham is progressing well.

"The IPCC will publish an over-arching report outlining its findings once all 88 investigations have concluded.

"This decision has been taken because many of the themes emerging from the investigations are similar, and many of the investigations are very closely linked and often overlap.

"There are currently 35 officers under investigation."

The Jay Report found that vulnerable young girls, who were mainly white, were treated with contempt by police officers when reports of child sexual exploitation were made.

Men of largely Pakistani heritage were said to have been responsible for the abuse, which involved children being trafficked, raped, beaten and intimidated by men while those in authority failed to act.

Frontline staff raised the issue but managers downplayed their concerns.

Prof Jay said there had been 'blatant' failings at Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police.

Since the publication of the report, there have been a number of successful prosecutions of offenders and tackling child sexual exploitation is now a South Yorkshire Police priority, with extra staff made available to tackle the issue and all officers trained in how to identify signs of children being at risk and how to safeguard them.