There was no police sacking for child grooming scandal. Officers escaped serious sanctions because they failed to help Rotherham gang victims.

  • Operation Linden was launched by 47 South Yorkshire Police Officers after 44 girls of color were sexually abused in the period 1997 to 2013.
  • For the errors that led to this scandal, no officer was fired
  • Five officers were not given sanctions beyond a written warning by the IOPC.

Yesterday’s revelations revealed that no police officers were fired over the widespread failures of Asian grooming groups in Rotherham.

A report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct said urgent action was needed to deal with problems that ‘still exist’ in handling child sex abuse cases.

Operation Linden investigated 47 South Yorkshire Police officers following 44 abuses of white girls that took place between 1997 and 2013.

After six years’ work and one misconduct hearing, none of the officers have been dismissed for making mistakes.

Numerous officers took advantage of a loophole which meant that even if they resigned, or retired, they would not be subject to discipline proceedings.

The IOPC stated that eight of the officers were responsible for misconduct, and six for gross misconduct.

Five received sanctions up to a final written warning, which one campaigner branded ‘just a slap on the hand’.

Tim Forber, South Yorkshire’s deputy chief constable, said the force ‘fully accepted’ the report’s findings.

Seven men were found guilty of grooming and abusing young girls in Rotherham over a seven year period

Over a period of seven years, seven men were found guilty in Rotherham of abusing and grooming young girls.

However, despite the apparent lack of accountability, the watchdog found that some historical police failures were continuing today and the report made 12 recommendations to improve training, police practices and called for a change in the law to protect sexual abuse ‘survivors’ from having their future life prospects damaged by their past experiences.

Steve Noonan, the IOPC director of major investigations, said there was ‘still work to do’ despite improvements in police methods.

He added: ‘Survivors of abuse will no doubt be deeply concerned, as are we, that some of these problems still exist today and we urge the police to act on these recommendations urgently to provide much needed reassurance to the public.

‘It is a tragedy that so many of the survivors we spoke to now have criminal records as a result of their actions while being exploited and there must be action across the judicial system to protect vulnerable young people and safeguard their futures.’

Following the last misconduct hearing, a complete IOPC Report on South Yorkshire Police’s response to sexual exploitation at Rotherham will also be released.

Yesterday’s ‘learning report’ detailed recommendations on changes needed.

It called for better training for police officers. It stated that officers and staff ‘without the right skills’ led investigations and people ‘given tasks they were not trained to carry out.’ Training had been improved but more was needed, it said.

There were ‘many instances where crimes were not recorded when they should have been’.

In particular there has been ‘no discernible improvement’ with an issue of failure to record crimes against vulnerable children.

More should be done to help and communicate with victims and there had been ‘missed opportunities’ by police to work with community leaders.

The IOPC found that many victims now had criminal records from incidents during the time they were being ‘exploited.’ Such ‘survival crimes’ may have taken place whilst under the influence of the abuser.

However, victims were more likely not to get work due to their criminal record.

The IOPC called upon the Law Commission, to investigate offences in which a child is exploited or groomed. The possibility of using this as a ‘defence’ and to allow convictions to be legally kept secret should be considered.

To foster a change in culture, better leadership was required and more training for police officers.