Former Police and Crime Commissioner faces police probe over child abuse 'lies'

Shaun Wright
Shaun Wright

South Yorkshire's former Police and Crime Commissioner is facing a police investigation over claims he lied to MPs about child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate allegations that Mr Wright lied when he gave evidence to MPs about what he knew about the scandal.

Mr Wright was the councillor with responsibility for children's services in Rotherham for five of the years during which children in the town are said to have been abused by men of largely Pakistani heritage while the authorities failed to act.

An independent report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, carried out by Professor Alexis Jay, found that 1,400 children were groomed, raped and trafficked for sex between 1997 and 2013.

Mr Wright, who was the county's Police and Crime Commissioner when the report was published, was called to give evidence to MPs under oath.

During these course of his appearance, the chairman at the time, Keith Vaz, made it clear MPs did not accept his evidence.

He questioned Mr Wright's claims that he was unaware that child sexual exploitation was a significant problem while he was responsible for children’s services.

Other MPs took issue with Mr Wright’s evidence that he did not recollect a reported face-to-face meeting with a victim of sexual exploitation.

Mr Wright also told the committee that he didn’t recall a single report from Ofsted or other external organisation that flagged the abuse as being a significant issue.

The committee asked the police to investigate yesterday after being passed complaints about Mr Wright’s conduct, which were initially received by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel.

The complaints are believed to centre around the evidence Mr Wright gave MPs.

In a statement, the committee said: “The Home Affairs Committee has received two complaints alleging that a witness who was examined on oath by the former committee in the last Parliament deliberately misled the committee.

“Since lying to a committee of the House when under oath would constitute the criminal offence of perjury, the committee has resolved today to refer the complaints to the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis for investigation.

"Any further action is for the police and the prosecuting authorities to consider.

“Since a criminal offence is alleged, it would not be appropriate for the committee to make any further comment.”

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