From Chris Longley MBE
Dear Rothpol and all the other people who have commented
Note to Rothpol: this is modified version of an earlier blog in the light of very recent events.
Thank you for your comments on these grave issues. I share your disquiet, but if the propre outcomes are to be achieved there are necessary cautions.
I have never called for any Rotherham MBC employee to be disciplined, let alone sacked or forced into retirement etc. Nor will I do so and for good reasons.
Nor have I suggested to any political body that they should instigate disciplinary proceedings against any of their elected members, whether of Rotherham MBC or against others such as the Police and Crime Commissioner.
I have, however, strongly suggested that investigations should take place to establish what the facts are about who knew what, when they knew it and what they then did or did not do. Let me set out why.
There has to be proof of actions or inactions by such people in power that can be proven and therefore be taken lawfully as the basis for such disciplinary actions. As I write this entry to the Rothpol blog, Rotherham MBC have not made available in the public domain any such proof or evidence. Yet.
I still await their response to my FOI request, for which the due “20 day response” is actually today. I am told on the telephone today that the work on their reply to me is under way
Some may say that this approach is offering a process of fairness denied to all the young girls who were so gravely assaulted, raped and trafficked over at least half a decade.
But bad practices and bad judgements in one area of the justice system can never provide the excuse for the summary use elsewhere of arbitrary disciplinary practices that would be just as badly based. Successful appeals by those affected would be virtually guaranteed.
So it may take time, but I have lots of time and patience (and so do many others!).
We will unearth what these people knew, when they knew it and what they did or did not do. And if there is no self-started Judicial Inquiry in Rotherham into these dreadful matters, there will be one imposed on Rotherham some day. For sure.
Let us hope the apparently emerging local consensus not only keeps its respect for due process but also holds together to force the independent Judicial Inquiry that will I am sure be needed ultimately if we are to learn the full truth.
I just hope it does not take 23 years.
Chris Longley MBE