Three major reviews into how agencies in South Yorkshire manage child sexual exploitation (CSE) offences past and present have been commissioned by the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright.
Commissioner Wright has asked Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary to conduct a thorough review of the process and structures currently in place in South Yorkshire Police to investigate allegations of CSE.
Secondly, he has asked the Chief Constable to set up an additional team of detectives and other specialists to investigate allegations of historic child abuse in South Yorkshire.
And thirdly, he has asked the Chief Crown Prosecutor to conduct a similar review of all those historic cases in which the Crown Prosecution Service was involved in considering whether charges should be brought.
Commissioner Wright said: “There can be no greater priority for me than ensuring that the people who are most vulnerable in society are properly supported, cared for and protected from harm.
“I made this my priority in my manifesto when I was elected nine months ago and since that time I have invested millions of pounds into South Yorkshire Police and through grants to other organisations specifically to improve the service provided to victims of such crimes.
“Recent events, locally and nationally, have highlighted the sad reality that children were, and continue to be, exploited for the purposes of sexual gratification.
“I am determined to continue to do everything I can to stop such abuse from happening today, and to review historic cases which, for whatever reason, did not lead to a prosecution.
“I believe that the approach taken today by South Yorkshire Police in investigating allegations of CSE is vastly improved and bears little if any resemblance to the approach taken in the past. I am also aware of a number of on-going criminal investigations that will see a number of defendants in the dock charged with serious sexual crimes.
“But I want to be certain that the approach, the processes and the systems used by South Yorkshire are right and HMIC will be providing me with an independent perspective and one which considers whether we can learn from, and adopt best practice, from other police forces.
“I also want the Force, and the CPS, to undertake a thorough review of historic cases, in relation to those that were investigated, to understand why decisions were taken not to prosecute.”