A FORMER detective accused of failing to act on information about alleged child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham was juggling a “horrific” workload with “zero” experience or training, a misconduct hearing was told.
Det Sgt David Walker, who worked in a specialist unit at Maltby, told the panel on Monday that it was “ludicrous” to suggest he had not progressed with investigations.
He also accused Jayne Senior, former manager of the youth project Risky Business, of overseeing an “abusive” approach to information gathering which caused “massive problems”.
Allegations against Mr Walker include that he failed to log information sent in emails between 2009 and 2012 by Ms Senior about children being groomed, sexually exploited, and raped.
Mr Walker accepts he did not log some emails on a police database but denies all the allegations of misconduct and gross misconduct.
Among the allegations are those of failing to investigate information that teenage sisters were having sex with workers from a car wash and claims of a RMBC youth worker passing names of vulnerable girls to potential sex offenders.
Under questioning by barrister Mr Jason Pitter QC, the former officer told the hearing he had had “zero” experience of dealing with CSE before joining the unit, and was given “zero” training and “no guidance”.
He said he had overseen up to 180 cases at any time, with 35 new referrals a week — a caseload he described as “quite horrific” which the under-resourcing of the unit had made “bigger and bigger”.
Mr Walker said he had been one of the officers trying to improve the force’s approach to CSE, saying: “I was pushing that door open” and described the suggestion he wasn’t actively advancing cases as “ludicrous”.
He told the panel: “I wasn’t a one-stop-shop in CSE. We were all a cog in a wheel.”
The tribunal previously heard allegations Ms Jayne Senior that the former officer had ignored key information she emailed him.
Mr Walker said the information was always passed on, sometimes to other departments, or appeared “in some other form in another operation”.
He had been “absolutely crystal clear” no promises were made to act on every email from Ms Senior, he said, adding that had the unit done so, “the wheels would have ground to a halt”.
Mr Walker also criticised Ms Senior and Risky Business’s approach to children’s allegations, claiming it was “abusive” as the young people would be interviewed by a youth worker, a social worker, then police before becoming part of the prosecution process ahead of a possible trial.
He called it “very traumatic” to “children’s wellbeing” and a method which caused “massive problems”.
The former officer said Ms Senior had “gathered a lot of information, much of which shouldn’t have been,” but added she had acted “in good faith”.
During cross examination, Mr Daniel Hobbs, acting on behalf of South Yorkshire Police, asked Mr Walker’s actions had been “coloured by” his personal views of Ms Senior and Risky Business.
Mr Walker said: “I’ve got nothing against Jayne Senior. I was shocked when she made the complaint. I thought my relationship with Jayne Senior was good.”
Mr Walker is one of 47 officers and former officers investigated by the IOPC in the wake of the 2014 Jay Report into CSE, with the final report due to be published following the conclusion of the tribunal.