Our statement in to the handling of non-recent CSE in Rotherham

Date published: 23 June 2022 09:32
Dated: 23 June 2022 13:35:24

Today (Wednesday 22 June), the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) has published its findings following an independent investigation in to our handling of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Forber, on behalf of South Yorkshire Police, said:

“We fully accept the findings of the IOPC report which closely reflects those highlighted by Professor Alexis Jay in 2014.

"The Jay Report brought a stark reality of our failings in handling CSE. We let victims of CSE down. We failed to recognise their vulnerability and failed to see them as victims, for that I am deeply sorry. They deserved better from us.

“The brave accounts of these girls caused a seismic change in policing crimes of this nature for South Yorkshire Police and the wider police service.

Since then we have worked closely with experts in this field, and with our partner agencies to develop effective and robust systems – systems recognised in this way in a recent independent examination of our current practice. We listened to the voices of those affected and learnt the lessons of the past. Those lessons have been embedded in everything we do.

“We now have dedicated multi-agency teams in Rotherham working closely to share intelligence on suspects and to identify children who may be at risk. We use the collective powers and authorities of the agencies represented in the group to explore that intelligence and take action at the earliest opportunity, to prevent harm wherever possible.

“Where harm does occur, we work compassionately and with utmost professionalism to stop that harm, to seek justice and to ensure the girls are properly safeguarded.

“We have invested in new IT systems and dramatically improved our crime recording.

“We prioritise the protection of vulnerable people and have a deep and ingrained understanding of CSE in all of its forms. We have campaigns in the community to help members of the public spot the early signs and report it to us. We have also created best practice in training workers in key roles who may have opportunity to spot the signs such as hotel staff, takeaway staff, and staff at leisure facilities.

“This is a fast changing area of work and we know there are many different forms of CSE. I believe we properly positioned now to be able to spot emerging trends and to act quickly to safeguard those most at risk.

“Whilst I am confident we are a very different force today, I will not lose sight of the fact that we got it wrong and we let victims down.”

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