Rotherham abuse inquiry will run for eight years
The criminal inquiry into the Rotherham grooming scandal has become Britain’s biggest child abuse investigation, with 10,000 leads being pursued.
It is likely to run for at least eight years at a cost of more than £30 million, it was revealed yesterday. Crimes were allegedly committed over 16 years against more than 1,000 vulnerable girls by hundreds of suspects, and the case — said to be still in its early phase — has already been split into eight investigations.
The scale of the National Crime Agency (NCA) operation is thought to dwarf any previous British inquiry into child sex exploitation. Its initial focus is on 29 men suspected of at least 91 serious sex offences against 82 victims.
The Rotherham scandal was exposed in 2012 when The Times revealed that for more than a decade groups of men acted with virtual impunity in grooming, abusing and trafficking children in the town. Hundreds of confidential official documents and reports showed that police and social workers held intelligence about such crimes but failed to act. An inquiry found that “almost all” identified abusers were groups of men from the town’s Pakistani community and most known victims were young teenage white girls.