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South Yorkshire Indycar driver 'saved six lives'

Justin Wilson helped save six lives after he donated his organs following his death, it has been claimed.

The 37-year old former Formula One driver died after he was struck on the crash helmet by debris at an IndyCar race in Pennsylvania on Sunday. Wilson was airlifted to a nearby hospital after he was rendered unconscious following the incident at the Pocono Raceway, but the Sheffield-born racer succumbed to his injuries with his wife Julia at his bedside on Monday night.

Stefan Wilson, also a professional racing driver, first said his elder brother's organs would be donated in the wake of his death and now claims six people have already benefited from his actions.

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"I don't understand why police turned away from Rotherham's exploited girls" : Police & Crime Commissioner

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner says he still does not fully understand how "police could turn away from young girls who were being exploited" in Rotherham.

Dr Alan Billings became PCC as a direct result of the Jay Report, after his predecessor Shaun Wright was forced to resign in its wake.

Dr Billings recalled how the scale of the offending in Rotherham outlined by Professor Alexis Jay "seemed scarcely believable".

"We had to first of all accept that what Professor Jay had turned up was true, that this was the reality.

"And that took a lot of believing because of the sheer scale of it.

"So I think there was a period of time when the police had to recognise that this was true, that this was the reality and that took a bit of time.

"And then, of course, to have to search their own consciences and search their records and their past to understand what had gone wrong."

– Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner

Dr Billings came into office last year with a stated commitment to putting child sexual exploitation at the top of the force's agenda.

He said he has made sure more officers are dedicated to the problem and has implemented an independent review of what went wrong, which is due to report by the end of the year.<

But he is most keen to flag up the Victims and Survivors Panel he set up which, he says, is now informing South Yorkshire Police's practice and training.

"I still don't fully understand how the police could turn away from young girls who were being exploited but, whatever the answers, they do not excuse people, who should have recognised a crime, from failing to act.

"But I do know that the nature and scale of child sexual exploitation is only just being understood and I feel that with every meeting of the Victims, Survivors and their Families Panel we are getting closer to some of the answers.

"The survivors I meet are very clear. Very few people understood then the insidious nature of grooming. They didn't understand what was happening themselves until it was too late and they had been trapped in destructive patterns of behaviour.

"They were not seen as vulnerable children, young girls, who had fallen in love with men who, they thought, loved them and showed them, at first, the affection and attention they craved.

"The authorities, who should have known better, by and large failed to extricate themselves from that more general cultural context. They failed to educate themselves, and us ."I don't think the public of South Yorkshire will feel happy until they start to see the prosecutions coming through and I think by the end of the year we should begin to see that."

– Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner

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Timeline: Tackling child exploitation in Rotherham

The publication of the Jay Report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham provoked a wave of outrage, resignations and new initiatives.

Here are the key events of the past year since the report was published:

:: 2014

August 26: Professor Alexis Jay publishes her devastating report on child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. The leader of Rotherham Council, Roger Stone, resigns within minutes of the publication.

August 27: Shaun Wright, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner who was the councillor in charge of children's services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010, refuses to resign despite Home Secretary Theresa May calling for him to step down.

August 28: Education secretary Nicky Morgan said she is "appalled" by the exploitation exposed by the report and announces an early inspection of child protection in Rotherham by Ofsted.

September 2: The Labour Party suspends four of its members in Rotherham, including Mr Stone and ex-deputy council leader Jahangir Akhtar.

September 8: Chief executive of Rotherham Council Martin Kimber, who joined the authority in 2009, announces he is to step down at the end of December.

September 9 : Mr Wright is grilled by MPs on the Home Affairs Committee. Chairman Keith Vaz calls for him to resign and said he would be asking the Home Secretary to bring in emergency legislation to enable PCCs to be sacked.

September 10: Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announces that Rotherham Council will face an independent inspection led by Louise Casey, the head of the Government's Troubled Families programme.

September 12 : Mr Wright attends an angry meeting of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel where he answers questions and is screamed at from the public gallery before the panel passes a no confidence vote.<

September 16 : Mr Wright resigns.

September 19 : Rotherham's director of children's services, Joyce Thacker, resigns.

October 13: The National Crime Agency (NCA) announces it will lead an investigation into outstanding allegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, following a request from South Yorkshire Police.

October 31: Dr Alan Billings is elected as the new PCC for South Yorkshire, pledging to make tackling child sexual exploitation a priority.

November 18: The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) says it will investigate 10 South Yorkshire Police staff over the handling of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

November 19: Ofsted declares children's services in Rotherham are "inadequate".

:: 2015

January 29: Rotherham's Labour MP Sarah Champion tells Sky News that the figure of 1,400 victims in the Jay Report may be an underestimate.

February 4: Louise Casey publishes a highly critical report on Rotherham Council, saying it is "not fit for purpose". The entire political leadership of the council announces it will resign and Mr Pickles says he will send in government commissioners.

February 23: Ms Casey tells MPs the police should be subjected to the the same analysis that she had given the council.

March 11: Former council leader Roger Stone says the Casey Report felt "like a witch hunt" a day after he was grilled by MPs.

March 13: New PCC Alan Billings calls for a wide-ranging inspection of South Yorkshire Police after a BBC investigation alleged failings relating to the exploitation of children in Sheffield.

March 26: The IPCC announces it has expanded its investigation into how police handled child sexual exploitation in Rotherham after receiving complaints involving more than 100 allegations against 42 named officers.

June 6: Dr Billings announces that Professor John Drew has been appointed to review South Yorkshire Police.

June 24: The NCA announces it is looking at 300 potential suspects as it begins the investigation stage of its inquiry into historical child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

July 21: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary says South Yorkshire Police still needs to make major improvements to its child protection procedures.

August 3: A £3 million package is announced to provide a Barnardo's team of specialist workers to work with children in South Yorkshire who are at risk of being sexually exploited.

"Small fraction" of Rotherham victims have come forward for help

Only a small fraction of more than 1,400 victims who were sexually exploited as children in Rotherham over a 16-year period have come forward for help, according to a lawyer representing survivors.

A year after the publication of the Jay Report, which produced the shocking estimate that more than 1,400 children had been raped, trafficked, groomed and violently attacked in the South Yorkshire town, David Greenwood said he believes fewer than 100 of the girls involved have engaged with the raft of new inquiries.

Mr Greenwood, who represents 58 girls who were subjected to sexual abuse by gangs of men in Rotherham between 1996 and 2012, says the much-criticised police and council have made progress in the town in the last 12 months.

But he believes many survivors will only trust the system again once a truly independent agency is brought in.

"Both agencies have improved in Rotherham in the last 12 months but survivors of exploitation will be unwilling to come forward to them unless radical changes are made.

"An agency independent from South Yorkshire Police and RMBC (the council) is essential for the 1,400 young women who need help.

"I am aware of only around 50 to 60 girls having come forward. This means there are around 1,350 whose lives could be improved with specialist help."

– David Greenwood, lawyer representing Rotherham child sexual exploitation survivors

Professor Alexis Jay shocked the UK with her report, which was published on August 26 last year.

It was already well-known that girls in Rotherham had been subjected to sexual exploitation by gangs of largely Asian men but the outrage provoked by the Jay Report stemmed from the sheer scale of offending and it outlined the horrific details included of what had beengoing on in the town between 1996 and 2013.

Professor Jay said at the time she had found "utterly appalling" examples of "children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone".

She said: "They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated."

She said she found that girls as young as 11 had been raped by large numbers of men.

Waves of criticism followed, aimed mainly at Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police.

Resignations included the leader and chief executive of the council as well as its director of children's services.

The most high profile casualty was South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, who was the councillor in charge of Rotherham's children's services between 2005 and 2010.

A further review of Rotherham Council by the Government's Troubled Families chief, Louise Casey, heaped more criticism on an authority she labelled as "not fit for purpose" and "in denial".

That lead to the then communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles handing over its powers to a panel of appointed commissioners.

Both the council and the police say their focus over the last 12 months has been on building trust among survivors.<

South Yorkshire Police says it now has a team of more than 60 officers working on child sexual exploitation (CSE) and its joint operation with the council and Crown Prosecution Service - Operation Clover - is beginning to see suspected abusers brought before the courts in numbers.

The National Crime Agency has been brought in to investigate historical crimes and recently announced it was looking at 300 potential suspects.

The new Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Billings, has set up a panel of survivors of CSE which he says is informing decision making and police training.

And a £3 million initiative was announced earlier this month which will see a Barnardo's team of specialist workers work with children in South Yorkshire who are at risk of being sexually exploited.

"Only when large numbers of girls affected feel able to speak to the police and with confidence that they will be believed, protected and supported will we know more.

"I have spoken with many girls who simply want nothing to do with the police at present and until the police put in place really good tailor-made support from specialist and dedicated officers they will not engage." "I would like to see a truly independent agency offering survivors good quality support, protection, talking therapies, help with housing, childcare and education. We still have a long way to go."

– David Greenwood, lawyer representing Rotherham child sexual exploitation survivors

Fresh appeal to trace hit and run driver on 14th anniversary of cyclist's death

Officers investigating the death of a Harrogate cyclist 14 years ago have today launched a fresh appeal for information to trace the hit and run driver.

Stefan Forge Credit: North Yorkshire Police

47-year-old Stefan Forge died on 22 August ,2001 after being hit by an unknown vehicle as he cycled with a friend along the A658 towards Buttersyke Bar near Harrogate.

The vehicle that hit Stefan and his friend - at around 11.15pm - failed to stop at the scene.

Tragically Stefan died from his injuries. His friend, who was severely traumatised by the incident, survived but suffered serious injuries.

Police investigating the collision are now carrying out a review of the case and to coincide with the fourteenth anniversary of the collision, are appealing to anyone who has any information but has not contacted the police.

“14 years have passed since Stefan died and I am hoping that with the passage of time, someone is now in a position to come forward with information that can help our investigation.

“Stefan’s family have had to carry on with their lives, not knowing the full circumstances of his death or who was responsible.

"We are still working on behalf of them, and hope that someone with that vital piece of information that will lead us to the identity of the vehicle and its driver, is out there.

“It may be that back in 2001, they felt they could not come forward with that information, but perhaps circumstances have changed and they are now in a position to share that information. "For the sake of Stefan and his family, I urge you to please get in touch and tell us what you know.”

– Sgt Ian Pope, North Yorkshire Police's Major Collision Investigation Unit

Anyone with any information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Ian Pope, or email ian.pope@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service 'must improve'

Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been told it 'must improve' Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been told it 'must improve' following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The service says it has made changes since the inspection, which found that it was failing to respond to life-threatening incidents within the target time.

The CQC also highlighted concerns about out-of-date medical supplies, ambulance cleanliness and infection control.

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Thousands trained in first aid thanks to banker fines

A first aid course in East Yorkshire is being paid for by money raised through fines from one of the country's worst banking scandals - the rigging of the Libor exchange rate used by banks for lending money to one another. More than a thousand teenagers are being taught life-saving skills by St John's Ambulance in Cottingham. It's hoped they will never need to use them but if they do it could save lives.

Botanist comes out of coma after contracting deadly virus from mosquito bite

A leading botanist from Malton in North Yorkshire who was struck down by a deadly virus while working in China has come out of a coma.

Dr Sophie Williams

31-year-old Dr Sophie Williams, remains on life support but is showing signs of recognising her family and friends. She contracted Japanese encephalitis while carrying out research last month and has been flown to Liverpool for treatment. Her family say they'll be meeting doctors later this week to get an update on Sophie's condition.

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