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Cameron joins calls for South Yorkshire PCC to quit

The Prime Minister has echoed calls for South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright to quit, saying it would be "the right decision."

In the wake of a damning report into child sexual abuse in Rotherham, David Cameron said:

The right decision would be to resign and take full responsibility for what happened.

– Prime Minister David Cameron

Mr Wright, a former Labour councillor, headed up Rotherham's child services for five years during the 16-year period when 1,400 children in care were abused, and became police and crime commissioner in 2012.

The report by Prof Alexis Jay revealed more than 150 allegations were reported last year, and were "ongoing" today.

Claim: Workers saw abuse victims as 'not worth saving'

Council workers failed to act on allegations of widespread child sexual exploitation in Rotherham because they simply believed victims "weren't worth saving", the former deputy leader at Rotherham Council has claimed.

Jahangir Akhtar, ex-deputy leader at Rotherham Council
Jahangir Akhtar, ex-deputy leader at Rotherham Council Credit: ITV News

Speaking to ITV News, Jahangir Akhtar rejected suggestions that workers were afraid to identify perpetrators as Asian for fear of being branded racist were "very disingenuous" and a "get out".

People did not act because they thought these young vulnerable girls weren't worth saving. I think that's a copout. That's my personal opinion.

– Jahangir Akhtar, ex-deputy leader at Rotherham Council

He said it was clear that "collectively we have failed young vulnerable children".


Police officer charged with sexual activity with girl, 15

A South Yorkshire Police officer previously based in Rotherham has been charged with causing a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

Daniel Cookson, aged 27, appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court today to face the allegation.

The force said the charge relates to an alleged offence committed between March and November last year, and Cookson was suspended when he was arrested in November.

Cookson was bailed to appear at Leeds Crown Court on September 11.

It is understood that the allegation is not related in any way to wider issues of child abuse in Rotherham.

Minister voices concern over police 'failings'

The Crime Prevention Minister has voiced concern after a report accused South Yorkshire Police of "failings" in the way it handled reports of child sexual abuse.

It comes after a report by Prof Alexis Jay said the force had treated victims with "contempt" and did not believe what they were saying.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker says he is "concerned" by the findings of the report
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker says he is "concerned" by the findings of the report Credit: PA

Minister Norman Baker described violent attacks like rape as "devastating crimes that ruin lives", and demanded that the force acts on recommendations for improvement immediately.

We expect every report to be taken seriously, every crime to be recorded, every investigation to be conducted thoroughly and professionally, and every victim to be treated with dignity.

We are very concerned that there are now two reports that suggest that there have been failings in the way South Yorkshire Police deals with vulnerable victims.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has set out clear recommendations for improvement - both in relation to crime recording and child sexual exploitation.

We expect the force to act on these immediately to regain the confidence of victims and the wider public.

– Norman Baker, Crime Prevention Minister

Ch Supt Jason Harwin has offered an "unreserved" apology to victims.

South Yorks Police probe 173 child sex abuse claims

Scandal-hit South Yorkshire Police currently have 173 live investigations into suspected child sexual exploitation, it has emerged.

It comes after a report revealed 1,400 children were sexually exploited over a 16-year period in Rotherham - and criticised the force for considering many of the young victims with "contempt".

The 173 investigations include 32 ongoing reports in Rotherham itself.


Council 'clearly failed young and vulnerable children'

No-one on Rotherham Council can be proud because they "clearly failed" young and vulnerable children, according the former deputy leader.

Speaking exclusively to ITV News Jahangir Akhtar said that he "wasn't around" and had not been part of the executive when reports of the abuse first surfaced.

A recent report has revealed more than 1,400 children were abused during 2005 and 2010.

Former child services chief 'sorry' for Rotherham abuse

Rotherham's former director of children's services said she wished staff "could have done more" to help the children who were abused in the town.

In a statement, Dr Sonia Sharp, who worked for the borough council from 2005 to 2008, said staff "knew that there were many children in the community at risk and feared that this was the tip of an iceberg."

Dr Sharp, who now works for the Australian state of Victoria's department of education and early childhood development said: "You can't be a director of children's services and not take responsibility for what happens to children.

She added: "I am sorry that these children and young people suffered terrible abuse and I wish we could have done more to prevent the abuse of children and young people in Rotherham."

Police watchdog chairman: Wright position 'untenable'

Shaun Wright was in charge of children's services in Rotherham.
Shaun Wright was in charge of children's services in Rotherham. Credit: ITV News

The chairman of South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Panel said he believed Commissioner Shaun Wright's position had become "untenable" and called on him to stand down over the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

Labour councillor Harry Harpham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

He should resign at the earliest opportunity.

He can only be removed from office by resigning or unless he commits a criminal offence.

We are not able to remove him, however, I will seek an urgent meeting with Shaun to let him know my position.

– Harry Harpham
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