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Rotherham Council accused of 'cover-up' efforts

Rotherham Council has been accused of going to "some lengths to cover up information and silence whistle-blowers" in an inspection report following the town's abuse scandal.

Today's report found that "the Council’s concern with its reputation leads it to cover up information which it would prefer not to be in the public domain."

It said the most high profile example of this related to a serious case review of a child who was murdered in the town in 2010, which initially featured heavy redactions until a challenge from The Times newspaper.

The Times claimed that the review - which was eventually published in a less-heavily redacted version in 2013 - had been censored to mask associated failures by staff within the council.

Rotherham Council has yet to respond to the numerous allegations contained in the report.

'Past and present council failures' over Rotherham abuse

Last year's Jay Report found that more than 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Credit: PA

A government-commissioned report into Rotherham Council has accused the authority of "past and present failures" in dealing with allegations of widespread child abuse in the town.

Louise Casey's inspection report found that staff at the authority denied any responsibility after findings from a previous report by Alexis Jay, which highlighted abuse against more than 1,400 children between 1997 and 2013.

Her report said figures in the council believed "they were no worse than anyone else" and claimed the "media were out to get them".

Casey said: "This inspection revealed past and present failures to accept, understand and combat the issue of child sexual exploitation (CSE), resulting in a lack of support for victims and insufficient action against known perpetrators.

"The council's culture is unhealthy: bullying, sexism, suppression and misplaced 'political correctness' have cemented its failures. The council is currently incapable of tackling its weaknesses, without a sustained intervention."

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IPCC probe 'positive step' for victims' families

The Commissioner of the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said she hopes the investigation into 10 police officers is seen as a "positive step" for Rotherham abuse victims and their families.

Kathryn Stone said: "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."

Ten officers were part of group of 13 referred to IPCC

The Jay report found more than 1,400 children had been sexually abused in Rotherham. Credit: PA

Ten police officers being investigated by the Independent Police Commission were part of a group of 13 referred by South Yorkshire Police.

The other three officers will not face investigation at this time, the IPCC said.

It was decided two did not justify an investigation involving the police watchdog, while the third officer remains under review.

The ten officers were identified through the Jay Report, which found more than 1,400 children had been subjected to child sex abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

It also criticised the way in which South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council dealt with complaints from teenage girls who said they had been raped and trafficked by gangs of mainly Asian men.

The other three officers referred to were identified by a separate internal report.

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