POLICE let down historical victims of CSE across South Yorkshire — but the other districts did not share Rotherham’s “wholesale failure”, a review found.
Prof John Drew’s inquiry, ordered by police commissioner Dr Alan Billings, examined South Yorkshire Police’s past and present approach to child sex abuse cases.
One question Dr Billings asked of the Drew review was whether previous failings on the scale of Rotherham’s were mirrored in Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster.
His response said: “You can draw some reassurance from this review that the rest of South Yorkshire did not encounter the extremes of failure and denial that it is now accepted took place in Rotherham, especially in the ten years from 1997.
“What you will find in the rest of this report, however, is not a happy story either.”
The Drew review into SYP followed 2014’s Jay report and last year’s Casey inspection, both of which focused on Rotherham Borough Council.
Prof Drew said: “My overall judgement is that the police response to safeguarding children and young people from child sexual exploitation in the past was inadequate, especially in Rotherham where I simply repeat the criticisms already made by Professor Jay and Louise Casey.
“Some, but only some, of this failure can be linked to the lack of awareness, nationwide, of child sexual exploitation in the early 2000s.
“Opportunities to explore the prevalence of sexual exploitation in more detail regularly presented themselves and were regularly missed.
“SYP did dedicate some resources from the earliest of days to combatting child sexual exploitation, most notably in Sheffield, where significant work was undertaken by a number of officers, both from SYP and their partners, particularly in the Sheffield Sexual Exploitation Service.”
Prof Drew has made 11 recommendations, including a “comprehensive stock take” of all reports to date to create a new police action plan.
He also urged the commissioner to make sure new joined-up IT systems are introduced and review arrangements for meetings between police and victims.
And he said local safeguarding children’s boards should conduct “lessons learned” reviews at the end of each major police investigation.
We want to continue holding local authorities to account, attending court and council meetings, as well as providing breaking news, competitions and offers – but it costs money. Online advertising does not cover costs, therefore we feel the need to ask for your help in ensuring we can provide the best possible coverage, online and in our printed products.
For as little as £1, you can support the Rotherham Advertiser – and it only takes a minute.
Click here to support local news.