A RESIDENT questioned why a detective given a final warning for gross misconduct on CSE was back enquiring about such crimes.
Det Con Ian Hampshire avoided dismissal at a misconduct hearing in March over his failure to follow up allegations on child sexual exploitation in 2007, when he was a trainee.
Eastwood resident John Gargett said: “I got contacted about two months ago by an officer wanting to be a main contact for Eastwood.
“He said information could be given about anything we see, including CSE. When I googled his name, I found that he had been in the papers when he got this final written warning. I didn’t feel that was right for him to be asking about CSE.”
Cllr Paul Hague, who raised the case at last week’s full council meeting (10), said: “How does the public or victims of CSE have any confidence in going to South Yorkshire Police, when we have got proven failed detectives investigating these same matters? It’s not right and needs to change.”
South Yorkshire Police said Mr Gargett had been pro-actively looking for a police contact to pass on matters from the community.
Temporary Supt Andy Wright told the Advertiser: “As our chief constable previously stated, Det Con Hampshire’s actions in 2007 fell significantly short of what the public should be able to expect from a police officer.
“At his misconduct hearing in March, Det Con Hampshire accepted this, and that his actions cumulatively amounted to gross misconduct.
“The independent legally qualified chair of the hearing determined a final written warning to be the appropriate outcome.”
He added: “Det Con Hampshire now sits in our intelligence function and plays a vital role in gathering information on behalf of investigative functions.
“His role covers a range of crime types and he has contributed to a number of successful inquiries. “We have no concerns about his conduct and, like every officer, his performance is regularly reviewed.”
T/Supt Wright also addressed wider concerns that CSE was not being taken as seriously, following a report by Rotherham’s Conservative group.
“We have never denied that CSE is a problem in Rotherham,” he said. “It remains a problem here as it does across the country. There is no shying away from this.
“In recent years, we have reconstructed our teams to ensure we have specialist officers dedicated to investigating CSE reports.
“We have also carried out extensive training to partners, businesses and our officers so they understand the signs to look for at every incident they attend. Our past failings and the subsequent criticism we faced has resulted in us now being in a strong and knowledgeable position when it comes to addressing CSE.”
SYP’s structure and proactive approach had been praised in the most recent external “Peel” inspection, looking at police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy, T/Supt Wright said.
“We need people to come to us and report information and concerns,” he added. “We may not be seen to publicly act on every piece of intelligence, but we do it act on it along with our partners.
“Every detail forms part of a bigger picture which enables us to identify patterns, perpetrators and potential victims.
“Trust can’t be rebuilt overnight, but the support of the public is vital in our efforts to investigate CSE and identify and protect victims.”