THE six-year inquiry into South Yorkshire Police’s response to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham is complete — but the release of its findings is being held up by the force.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched the investigation into serving and former police officers — second only in size to its probe into Hillsborough — in 2015.
Dubbed Operation Linden, it covers allegations ranging from failure to act to corruption.
The IOPC has now completed 91 separate investigations as part of the investigation but said it was awaiting the outcome of one SYP gross misconduct hearing.
The force said this week no date had yet been set for the hearing.
“We are unable to publish our overarching report until this hearing has been held,” said an IOPC spokesperson.
“Our priority is also to fully update the survivors we have been engaging with before we share any further details.
“After all linked proceedings have concluded, we intend to publish an over-arching report covering all of our findings, outcomes and the systemic issues we identified from our work on Operation Linden.
“These will form the basis of our recommendations to South Yorkshire Police and any broader learning for policing practice.”
The inquiry looked into South Yorkshire Police’s response to CSE between 1999 and 2011 and whether senior officers failed in their statutory duty to protect children.
An IOPC spokesman said it was “more likely” — but not certain — that the report would be published this year.
The police watchdog paid tribute to survivors who had taken the “difficult step to make complaints about police”.
The spokesman added: “They have shown a great deal of bravery both prior to and throughout our investigation and we must be respectful of the experiences they have gone through.
“As their individual cases have concluded, we have provided them with a personal update on our findings and continued to support their welfare.”
In March, Det Con Ian Hampshire was given a final written warning by the force after the IOPC’s six-year inquiry into his gross misconduct for failing to investigate multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault made by a girl who reported she had been raped, sexually assaulted and assaulted in Rotherham in 2007.
The officer accepted he had failed to conduct sufficient investigations into the offences, failed to interview the victim and failed to provide her with any update.
The IOPC launched Operation Linden in response to the Jay Report, which revealed an estimated 1,400 children were sexually exploited between 1997 to 2013 in Rotherham.
In 2018, it launched a further investigation into the force’s senior command team over the 16-year period, covering more than 20 officers from chief inspector upwards.