ROTHERHAM councillors have publicly called on South Yorkshire Police to be “more transparent” when providing information related to child sexual exploitation.
A notice of motion was presented to last Wednesday’s full council meeting by the council’s Conservative group, calling for group leaders to write to South Yorkshire Police’s chief constable and the region’s police and crime commissioner, highlighting that “there are still areas of concern” in the way South Yorkshire Police handles CSE investigations.
It follows a report in The Times earlier last month which alleged that, as late as 2019, South Yorkshire Police were still not recording the ethnicities of suspected child abusers.
The motion, which was accepted by all parties, said group leaders would also urge SYP to be “more transparent with members of public and the press” with information relating to CSE.
South Yorkshire Police were ordered to disclose a redacted document named “Child Exploitation Strategic Profile”, which revealed that SYP failed to record the ethnicity of suspects in 67 per cent of “non-cyber-enabled” CSE cases in Rotherham in 2019.
Cllr Emily Barley, leader of the Rotherham Conservative group, told the meeting: “What these documents tell us is that despite what the police and crime commissioner and others claim, CSE is not a top priority for South Yorkshire Police.”
Anston and Woodsetts councillor Tim Baum Dixon, seconded the motion, adding: “I am ashamed that I rise to support this motion.
“I am ashamed that yet again, we’re having to hear about the shortcomings and failings of South Yorkshire Police, and how the victims of these most heinous crimes are still being let down.”
Council leader Cllr Chris Read told the meeting that he had written to the chief constable twice “over the last few weeks”.
He highlighted how the Government had withdrawn financial support to help with the impact of Operation Stovewood, and an amendment added by the Labour group calls on ministers to reinstate funding towards this cost to RMBC.