Police in Rotherham who left Asian grooming gangs free to rape girls must be named says MP 3 min read

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Police in Rotherham who left Asian grooming gangs free to rape girls because they were afraid of race backlash must be named and shamed says MP

  • MP Sarah Champion said the police who ignored the abuse should be named 
  • Police watchdog upheld complaint a chief inspector admitted to father of victim
  • The officer said abuse was ignored due to fears of increasing ‘racial tensions’

Police officers who ignored the sexual abuse of underage girls by Pakistani grooming gangs should be named and shamed, campaigners demanded last night.

The demand came after a leaked report failed to identify a key investigator in the Rotherham scandal, which saw at least 1,400 children preyed on between 1997 and 2013.

The police watchdog has upheld a complaint that a chief inspector admitted to the father of a victim that abuse was ignored due to fears of increasing ‘racial tensions’.

He is said to have claimed ‘with it being Asians, we can’t afford for this to be coming out’ or the town ‘would erupt’. 

But it emerged the officer cannot be identified by the Independent Office for Police Corruption. The full document is due to be published later this year.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said yesterday she found it ‘difficult to believe’ that the officer’s identity could not be established.

She said: ‘What we as a town need to see, and definitely for the survivors to get closure, they need to see cases of misconduct. They need to see people held to account.’

Nazir Afzal, who prosecuted members of the Rochdale gang, added: ‘The fact is that by not dealing with this at the time because of some misguided concern about upsetting some communities, they have added fuel to the fire of far-Right groups. 

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‘The public needs to be reassured that these people are capable to do these jobs without the incompetence that was displayed during this investigation.’

Rotherham survivor Sammy Woodhouse (pictured) said she was not surprised by the report's findings

Rotherham survivor Sammy Woodhouse (pictured) said she was not surprised by the report’s findings

The watchdog upheld six complaints against South Yorkshire Police by a woman abused as a child for several years.

The report found police were aware of suspects but did not take sufficient action to protect her.

Investigators interviewed 16 officers known to have spoken with the victim – but none could recall their involvement.

Rotherham survivor Sammy Woodhouse said she was not surprised by the report’s findings and that no officers were named.

She said: ‘We’ve started to now see perpetrators that have committed the rapes and the abuse being held to the account, but yet whenever when it comes to professionals I feel that we constantly hit a brick wall and I don’t think anybody will be ever held to account.’

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The IOPC’s Operation Linden was launched in 2014 with 91 investigations into allegations senior officers failed in their duty to protect children.

South Yorkshire Police said it accepted the IOPC’s findings and recognised failings from its past.

A spokesman added: ‘It is unfortunate no individual officer has been identified by the IOPC as this is not something we tolerate in today’s force. The themes within this report have been understood by South Yorkshire Police for some time, and the identified learning has already been embedded within our organisation.

‘We are not deterred from pursuing justice due to the characteristics of the offender. This is demonstrated in the many convictions we have secured in relation to CSE in recent years.’

 

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