Rotherham child sexual abuse: Detective avoids sack over gross misconduct charge

The first detective to face a disciplinary hearing over an investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has avoided being sacked.

A disciplinary panel said he should not be held personally accountable for the "systemic failings" of South Yorkshire Police.

Dc Ian Hampshire admitted failing to properly investigate allegations made by a teenage girl that she had been raped by multiple men in the town in 2007 when he was a trainee detective, at the start of a two-day police misconduct hearing in Sheffield.

A disciplinary panel decided Dc Hampshire should be issued with a final written warning rather than being dismissed after hearing that his conduct in relation to the girl was part of much wider failure by South Yorkshire Police to deal with child sexual exploitation in Rotherham at the time.

The hearing heard that Dc Hampshire exemplary record from the last 14 years, including being commended for another high-profile and complex investigation that involved dealing with child victims.

The hearing also heard that "basic steps that should have been immediately obvious to any police officer" were not taken.

Panel chairman Simon Mallett said: "It would be wrong for this panel, and it would be wrong for this officer, to make him personally accountable for the systemic failings of the force."

In 2014, the Jay Report shocked the nation when it detailed how at least 1,400 children were raped, trafficked and abused by gangs of men of mainly Pakistani heritage in the town between 1997 and 2013.

The report criticised the lack of action by police and social workers and provoked a wave of resignations and further inquiries.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched Operation Linden into police conduct in relation to the scandal - the organisation's second-biggest inquiry after the investigation into the Hillsborough disaster - but this report has not yet been published.

South Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Lauren Poultney said: "Dc Hampshire's actions in 2007 fell significantly short of what the public should be able to expect from a police officer.

"Since the findings of the Jay Report, which led to this investigation, the force has taken huge strides in understanding and investigating CSE to ensure victims of sexual offences can have confidence that, when they feel able to raise the alarm, South Yorkshire Police officers are ready to respond.

"In recent years, we have delivered extensive training to all of our officers, partner agencies and businesses where there may be opportunities to spot CSE and intervene."