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Lord Scriven: Police services are "still letting down these vulnerable children and young people"

Earlier this week the former Lib Dem leader of Sheffield City Council, Lord Scriven of Hunters Bar, called for South Yorkshire's Chief Constable David Crompton to resign over the force's handling of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.

In this exclusive article for ITV, Paul Scriven reiterates his call for Mr Crompton to stand down, saying police services are "still letting down these vulnerable children and young people".

Lord Scriven of Hunters Bar, called for South Yorkshire's Chief Constable David Crompton

Lord Scriven writes:

"The revelations about the failure of South Yorkshire Police to tackle the appalling child abuse in Rotherham shocked people across the country. That our police force, social services and others had failed, so comprehensively, to protect vulnerable children has rightly led to huge pressure on services, and particular the police, to reform their practices.

When Professor Alexis Jay made her report just under a year ago, there were serious concerns about whether our police service could respond to the scale of the challenge. Yet the senior management team were, rightly, given the chance to prove that they were up to the task of providing the strategic leadership needed. The results of the new report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary this week shows that, while some improvements have been made, the senior team is not fulfilling its vital task. That is why I now believe it is time for the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, David Crompton, to step aside.

The HMIC report makes for deeply worrying reading. While it found some 'tangible progress’ has been made, it is clear that the major improvements have not been made, with sloppy record keeping and failing to recognise children at real risk of harm occurring all too often. The report includes examples of a child who made an accusation of abuse being told by a policeman to ‘stop being a naughty child’. Another incident highlighted in the report states that, when a mother passed on concerns about her daughter was at urgent risk of abuse the police didn’t pass on these concerns for 10 full days. These are children whose lives could, and in some cases have, been ruined by abuse. Every failure is one too many, and our police services are still letting down these vulnerable children and young people.

The HMIC report is all the more damming because it is now the fourth report to recognise the need for real, fast and substantive change. We need strong strategic leadership committed to radically changing the ways that the Police service works in South Yorkshire. We need a police force that works well with other agencies and brings in new best practice with immediate effect and makes sure that records are kept, and that concerns are dealt with seriously and acted upon quickly.

I do not believe that these changes can be brought about by the current senior management team. I have reached this conclusion with a heavy heart, as people should be given the chance to improve and to turn things around, but to delay any longer risks more children and young people being let down by the system. We have to protect those at the centre of this scandal- and that means the Chief Constable should now either resign or be forced to step down by the Police and Crime Commissioner."

David Crompton: Credit: Press Association

In a response to Lord Scriven's call for him to resign, Chief Constable David Crompton said:

"HMIC has made it clear that senior leaders are demonstrating the determination to make the required improvements.I remain committed to leading the force through those improvements and, with 19 people charged with more than a hundred CSE related offences in the last three months, I’m confident that we are making an impact on dealing with the root cause of the problem.”

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