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LGA to call for independent review after Ofsted report

The Local Government Association say they will call for an independent inquiry after a government report criticised watchdog Ofsted over its role of protecting children in Rotherham.

Protecting children from harm is one of the most important things that councils do. While some local authorities are making positive strides to protect young people, it’s clear that others have been too slow to step up to the plate and must do more to stop any cases where children could be at risk.

This report makes for uncomfortable reading and councils across the country will now be reflecting on its implications and asking questions of their staff to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect each and every child.

Preventing child sexual exploitation is incredibly complex but local authorities are not going to be able to tackle this vile crime in isolation, it needs to become everyone’s business.

We need to see better local working with the police and NHS to proactively review the processes used every day to keep children and young people safe. Schools, GP’s surgeries, charities and community groups also have a vital role in identifying and reporting any cases where children could be at risk.

In addition, councils, communities and parents need to have confidence in the Ofsted inspection regime and its role in protecting children. The LGA has called for an independent review to discover what has gone wrong with the inspectorate. It’s also vital that we move towards a process that is able to properly assess the contribution of all agencies in keeping children safe.

The exploitation of children for sexual or any other abuse has no place in society. There are lessons in this report for every community and we must all work together to stamp out this awful crime."

– Cllr David Simmonds, Chairman of the LGA's Children and Young People Board

Allegations about officers to be investigated by IPCC

  • During a child protection conference an officer is alleged to have argued against the category of sexual abuse being used because he thought that the child had been 100% consensual in every incident. This allegation relates to one officer.
  • Intelligence records from June 2001 record that a named suspect was threatening a family and actively involved in encouraging the victim to engage in prostitution. There appears to be no police activity directed around the named suspect's offending. No officer(s) have yet been identified in relation to this allegation.
  • Allegation that evidence was lost in relation to a report that between 9 March 2003 and 3 April 2003, a victim had been raped on four occasions. The offender was named and arrested. This allegation relates to one officer.
  • Allegation of a failure to progress an investigation into a report from a 14-year-old girl that she had been raped by an unknown male at an unknown location in Rotherham. Allegation relates to three officers.
  • Allegation of a failure to adequately investigate an incident in which a young girl was found drunk in the back of a car and an individual had indecent photographs of her on his mobile phone. Allegation relates to two officers.
  • An allegation of a failure to adequately investigate naked images of a young girl and possible evidence of group offending. This allegation relates to two officers.
  • Allegations surrounding the police response to information supplied in 2001 highlighting concerns regarding CSE issues in Rotherham. Allegation of lack of police action in response to two reports, one in 2003 entitled Sexual Exploitation, Drug Use and Drug Dealing: Current Situation in South Yorkshire and the other in 2006 entitled Violence and Gun Crime: Links with Sexual Exploitation, Prostitution and Drugs Markets in South Yorkshire. These allegations relate to one officer.


Officers to be investigated by police watchdog over Rotherham

The Independent Police Complaints Commission today said it would investigate 10 South Yorkshire police officers over their handling of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The officers are part of a group of 13 referred to the IPCC by South Yorkshire Police. The ten the IPCC is independently investigating were identified through Professor Alexis Jay's independent review of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The other three officers were identified through a separate internal review by South Yorkshire Police. It has been decided that two do not justify an investigation involving the IPCC at this stage, while the status of the third remains under review.

The amount of public concern across the country about this episode and the impact on confidence in the police means it is important that a fully independent investigation is conducted to establish how South Yorkshire Police dealt with child sexual exploitation. I sincerely hope that victims and their families will see this investigation as a positive step towards answering the many questions they must have. I have met with South Yorkshire Police and am reassured by their commitment to fully cooperate with the investigation.


MPs call for child protection review in wake of Rotherham scandal

MPs have called for child protection systems to be reviewed following alarming evidence that organised abuse is widespread in the wake of the Rotherham scandal.

Parliament's Communities and Local Government Committee has condemned Ofsted for failing to lift the lid on child exploitation in the town despite carrying out a series of inspections of the council.

Ofsted have now been ordered to give evidence to the committe, which is chaired by Sheffield MP Clive Betts

Four arrested over two nights of trouble in Rotherham

Four people have been arrested following two nights of disturbance in the Thurcroft area of Rotherham.

Police called to the Ivanhoe Road area last night found a group of around 50 people. They arrested four, aged between 15 and 35 for breach of the peace.

It was the second night police were called to a disturbance there - and believed to be connected to reports of a seious sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl earlier in the weekl. A 21-year-old man has been arrested for that incident and the investigation continues.


Rotherham braced for protests

South Yorkshire Police say extra officers are on duty in advance of a demonstration by the English Defence League (EDL) in Rotherham today.

Up to 100 members of the EDL will protest on Main Street between 1.45pm and 2.45pm, with United Against Fascism (UAF) expecting to hold a counter protest.

The UAF protest is anticipated to be on a different part of Main Street at a similar time.

Police say Rotherham town centre will be open as usual and there are no planned road closures.

Sixty, additional South Yorkshire Police officers will be on duty to ensure a peaceful protest and to keep people and property safe.

Officers have called on everyone involved in the event to behave appropriately and respect the right of other people to go about their daily lives with a minimum of disruption.

Guilty verdict in corporate manslaughter case

A Rotherham waste management company has been found guilty of corporate manslaughter after the death of a man at the plant three years ago. Michael Whinfrey was killed in January 2011 in an explosion at the Sterecycle plant that blew a hole in the factory wall . The blast also seriously injured a colleague. An investigation by South Yorkshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive found the explosion resulted from the failure of a screw connection to a locking ring. The incident was described by police as " inexcusable neglect," by the company

On the 11th of January 2011, my partner of 28-years Michael Whinfrey went to work never to return. Michael, a father to our three children, was a hard working man who loved and cared for all his family and friends. Since this day, there has been a huge hole in all our lives. I have had to cope on a daily basis of not knowing or understanding what actually happened to Michael on the 11th January 2011. With this guilty verdict now in, I know that through the negligence and incompetence of Sterecycle the company, Michael, through no fault of his own, was unlawfully killed. I wish to thank South Yorkshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive for carrying out a thorough investigation into this matter and also the CPS for continuing with the prosecution even though the company had entered administration.

– Margaret Crofts, Michael Whinfrey's partner

I am pleased with the verdict reached today as it recognises the systemic failings of a company who had a duty of care to its employees. The company was aware of a longstanding issue with the autoclave doors and made no effort to repair the problem properly, putting the lives of their employees at risk.

– Detective Sergeant Rob Platts, South Yorkshire Police

PCC promises touch action on any officers who ignored child abuse

On his first day at work South Yorkshire's new Police and Crime Commissioner has promised tough action to deal with any officer who turned a blind eye to child sexual exploitation.

Dr Alan Billings who was elected on Friday says his first job will be to re-build the reputation of the force. Fourteen officers are already under investigation after a report into the scale of child abuse in Rotherham.

David Hirst reports:

New PCC hopes to restore reputation of South Yorkshire Police

South Yorkshire's new Police and Crime Commissioner Dr. Alan Billings arrived for work in Barnsley today - to take up a role he believes should be scrapped.

South Yorkshire's new Police and Crime Commissioner Dr. Alan Billings arrived for work in Barnsley today - to take up a role he believes should be scrapped.

He will be briefed during about what his tasks entail, before taking the oath of office at around 2 o' clock this afternoon.

Tomorrow, he is due to meet South Yorkshire's Chief Constable David Crompton. Labour's Dr Billings was declared the new PCC on Friday, but on a turnout of less than 15 per cent.

He says there is a lot of work to be done to help restore the reputation of South Yorkshire Police following the Jay Report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and other high-profile controversies including Hillsborough, Orgreave and the recent raid on the home of Sir Cliff Richard.

He told David Hirst his main aim is to restore the reputation of South Yorkshire Police:

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