Andrew Norfolk with another explosive expose

Front page of today’s Times:

Rotherham: politicians and police ‘abused girls’

Andrew Norfolk Chief Investigative Reporter

Published 22 minutes ago

A corrupt police officer and two councillors have been accused of having sex with victims of one of Britain’s worst child abuse scandals, The Times can reveal.

The claims relate to politicians and a constable in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where an estimated 1,400 girls were subjected to serious sexual offences over 16 years.

The explosive allegations are revealed by The Times on the day that long-awaited findings from an independent inspection of the local authority are due to be published. The report is expected to make damning criticism of the council, which risks being stripped of its powers.

Complaints against the two Rotherham councillors are understood to have been sent to the National Crime Agency, which is investigating child-sex crimes in the town. One of the councillors is still serving.

Allegations against the police officer, who is also said to have regularly passed information to abusers targeting vulnerable children for sex, have separately been referred to the police watchdog by the South Yorkshire force.

A second officer is accused of neglect in his duty because he allegedly failed to take appropriate action after receiving intelligence about his colleague’s conduct. The claims are being assessed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

In 2012, when The Times published confidential documents revealing that police officers and council officials had known for at least a decade that girls in Rotherham were being groomed, pimped and trafficked by men with virtual impunity, the local authority’s response was to demand a criminal inquiry into the leaking of the documents.

The council threatened High Court action to block another story and also hired a firm of solicitors to expose the “security breach”.

The town gained international notoriety last year when an inquiry by Alexis Jay found that hundreds of girls, some as young as 11, suffered “appalling levels of crime and abuse” from 1997 to 2013. Children were said to have been abducted, trafficked to other towns, beaten, threatened and in some cases forced to witness rapes. The men involved were “almost all” of Pakistani origin.

Senior police officers and council officials were said to have known of the abuse yet chose to “disbelieve, suppress or ignore” evidence of multiple crimes.

In the public outcry that came after the Jay report, Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, ordered an independent inspection of Rotherham council that was led by Louise Casey, the director-general of the government’s troubled families programme. Ms Casey’s report is likely to be presented to MPs this morning. Sources in the town expect that it is likely to be scathing in its verdict on the council’s overall performance and provision of safeguarding services to children and young people.

If the authority is found to be failing to discharge its duties to an acceptable level, Mr Pickles has the power to order some form of government intervention. Last year he sent in three commissioners to oversee the London borough of Tower Hamlets. A similar measure was taken in 2010 after serious failings were identified in Doncaster, Rotherham’s neighbouring authority.

The criticisms in the Jay report, published last August, led to the resignations of the council leader, Roger Stone, its chief executive, Martin Kimber, the director of children’s services, Joyce Thacker, and the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright.

It also triggered an inquiry by the Commons home affairs committee, which heard of claims from a charity worker that a police officer was on the payroll of groups of men who groomed and sexually abused children in Rotherham. It was claimed that the rogue officer undermined efforts to protect girls by sharing confidential information with sex criminals of Pakistani origin.

A huge thank you goes to Andrew Norfolk for his excellent work, much appreciated in these parts.

22 thoughts on “Andrew Norfolk with another explosive expose

  1. Andrew Norfolk’s work is journalism at it’s very best but it’s damning that exposing the abuse and scale of abuse was left to a journalist while those in positions of responsibility did nothing.
    It’s also very odd in view of these exposes that none of the Rotherham MPs of the time felt it was something they should make enquiries about, didn’t feel they could pick up the phone to any of the council officers or any councillors and ask what it was all about.

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  2. I have always maintained from day one of this investigation that the running of Rotherham Council should have been taken over by officers and officials from Her Majesty’s government in London as the stench is still around.

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    • would that be the same ‘officers and officials’ of HMG who are sitting on or ‘misplaced’ files that expose a Westminster paedo ring, that decided the public didn’t need to know about Sir Peter Hayman, and has protected ‘Uncle’ Leon Brittan for over 30 years? The ones who knew about abuse on such a scale it may even include child murder? The same ones who have set up an inquiry into CSE but still cant find someone suitable to chair it?
      Nah, if we are pinning our hopes on the white knights of Whitehall & Westminster to ride to Rotherham’s rescue, we will all be long gone before that happens. The horror of all this is that the entire establishment cant be trusted – even our blessed royal family (yes, I AM being ironic) has at least one child rapist in its frontline. The church? A sick joke riddled with paedos. The law, the police, health & social care – all tainted, corrupted or directly involved.
      I am not a natural pessimist, but just cant see the way this is going to be sorted.

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  3. Are we going to see the three local mp’s sue Andrew Norfolk as they are sueing Caven Vines and Jane Collins there is much more being kept under wraps plus if we get an answer from the council it will be the deputy leader not Paul Lakin who answers he seems to be invisible

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  4. It makes you weep. Quid custodet custodes?
    Let’s hope Mr Pickles and Rev Billings take tough action…If special measures are decreed for RMBC I can’t see how any of the sitting Labour Group can not resign with immediate effect, even if it is too late to have by elections.
    Well done Andrew Norfolk

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    • Paul Lakin has resigned as Leader with immediate effect and is resigning as a ward councillor as well, all the cabinet are resigning as soon as transitional arrangements are put in place (by that I think they must mean as soon as the 5 commissioners are installed). Nearly every director has left the Council. The senior management team in children’s services is brand new and the council is yet to appoint a permanent chief executive. There are to be full elections in 2016. There aren’t that many heads left to roll and I just hope that the s**t doesn’t roll downhill to those front-line workers who were let down by senior managers. To quote from the executive summary of Casey’s Report, “Inspectors found many committed, hardworking and dedicated staff working for Rotherham Council including frontline staff and social workers”.

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      • Robin i find what you say interesting not the elections should be held in may why should we give this rotten council who for years have treated their electorate with contempt any time at all they have proved time and time again they are incapable of being honest and open about anything they should go NOW

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      • But she also found many officers still in denial and disputing Alexis Jay report. I have always said until you clear the lot of them out, your’ll never solve this problem.

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  5. When I first arrived in Rotherham to launch my political campaign under the Respect banner during the by-election created by the unsavoury departure of Denis MacShane, several local councillors accused me of Islamaphobia and racism when I put child abuse as the Number One election issue. I remember Labour’s candidate Sarah Champion, now elected MP, accused me of being opportunistic.
    Looking back now, I see the council’s deliberate obstruction from the outset to give my election agent and team any assistance as something perhaps more sinister; and may be that is the way I should also look at the spurious police investigation into claims that I had broken election rules by publishing a dodgy election literature which even the most incompetent detective could see was a hoax.
    Even my subsequent praise of Andrew Norfolk’s brilliant journalism drew fire from ex-councillor Jahangir Akhtar in the days when he held power and influence in the town and on the council.
    Well done Norfolk for keeping up his amazing work.

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    • I heard Sarah Champion, praising the victims for standing up and making themselves heard. But wasn’t Andrew Norfolk which really got us to this point, pity the local MP’s and councillors never spoke up before when they knew it was going on.

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      • Yes it was Andrew Norfolk who got us here – it needed a journalist on a respected newspaper to give it traction, but Sarah Champion’s praising of the survivors is both right, proper and understandable – as I am sure Norfolk would agree; he has written that what drove him on was what the survivors had told him, and he would have nothing to publish without their testimony.
        He got the confidence of the survivors as did RIsky Business and as Ms Champion has been doing since she got involved.
        As he explains here (please watch it):
        http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12009&st=14:46:00
        (I’m not sure who the guy on the middle-left who keeps nodding-off is, but it does look a lot like Mark Reckess MP (Tory).
        …and what was really sickening today in the HoC was Mark Reckless (Ukip) claiming that it was the Ukip councillors in Rotherham that raised awareness.
        (from Hansard)
        Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (UKIP):
        When the Home Affairs Committee investigated child sexual abuse in Rochdale and in Rotherham, we did see a difference: there was at least some action in Rochdale, but we found complete denial in Rotherham, so I support the thrust of the intervention.
        Even if single-party Labour control may not have caused what happened, it did allow it. Until UKIP broke through there in the local elections last year, there was virtually no party political competition in Rotherham. Pending the 2016 all-out elections, will the May 2015 elections go ahead to allow us to continue to hold the Labour councillors responsible to account at the ballot box?
        Mr Pickles:
        The hon. Gentleman makes a very reasonable point about the way Rochdale approached this. The May 2015 elections will take place. However, let me say to him that this is about people’s lives. This is about protecting children; it is not about whether some grubby politician is elected or not. If we seek to turn this into some kind of political football, we will be as bad as the failing councillors of Rotherham, and I am determined that that should not be the case.

        I respect Caven Vines enough to hope and expect that he would not agree with what Reckless MP said.

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      • Once she was elected and the scandal had broken she did become quite vocal, I’m happy to say but at the time she tried to give me a hard time for making it an election issue. The evidence is lying in BBC archives when the very excellent Len Tingle organised a hustings with all political parties for the Weekly Politics show.

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  6. Who are the two councillors and the police officer involved? Name and shame them why protect them further.
    All those involved in the cover up from council workers, police officers, social workers should all have criminal proceedings against them. The wages we have paid them should be claimed back because they have not done job their jobs correctly. This is how we the public would be treated if this happened in our day to day job. How embarrassing it is to be a Rotherham citizen at the moment, all due to the incompetencies of the people in charge.
    I think these independent reviews shouldn’t just stop at the sexual abuse they should delve further in to the past dealings of RMBC. I’m sure many more secrets would be uncovered, back handers etc etc.

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    • Which new mosque is that? If something has been done not through the correct channels of course it should be investigated. Those who are found to have abused their power should be prosecuted.
      I am of Asian origin but have been born and bred in Rotherham. What is happening and happened in Rotherham disgusts me. I want these people held to account and have criminal charges brought against them. These “Pakistani paedophiles” should be given the harshest sentences available as well as all those who were aware. If those in power had acted 15 years ago we wouldn’t be in this predicament today. So they are just as guilty as the paedophiles. This just doesn’t go for the Pakistanis but for any paedophile regardless of race.

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    • heres two for the record of past corruptions from the 1980’s !!! i was waiting (behind a screen and out of view) in the Education offices to have a meeting with the Director of Education and his deputy to discuss extra tuition for my son after a diagnosis of dyslexia had been given by the Dyslexia Institiute in Sheffield. I heard the Director say to his deputy as they walked towards the interview room – Just listen and pretend to sympathyse with her but at the end of the day she is going nowhere with this and prepare for her to be bloody minded !!! A few weeks after this meeting I received a phone call from the professor who had diagnosed my son and advised the council on the extra tuition he needed. He advised me that he was concerned that my son had not been present in Rotherham Library at the Institutes teacher sessions and wondered why?? I told him that I had been refused the tuition. he then advised me to go down to the library and his teacher would tell me who the pupils were that were being afforded this extra tuition – they were all the children of prominent Solicitors, Doctors and members of Rotherham Borough council- but not my son or anyone’s child in the same position of need !!
      The next occasion I had was to try and investigate a personal concern relating to my Grandmothers care in a council run residential care home for the elderly. The officer -in-charge had been escorted from the premises by the police late one night ( inside information was given to me at the time from someone who knew I had concerns) I went to South Yorkshire Police and asked why this officer had been removed from the premises – I was told to ask Rotherham Council – enough said !!

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