Socialist Worker

Report slams South Yorkshire cops on child abuse

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2423

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published a report into South Yorkshire Police this week.

The report focuses on the force’s record on child protection. It comes in the wake of a devastating report into child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham. 

The HMIC’s evaluation of the force’s record was worse than that of the force itself.

South Yorkshire Police audited 26 cases and found that practice was “good” in all cases and “very good” in some.

HMIC found 17 cases to be good, six adequate, two inadequate and one requiring improvement.

HMIC inspectors examined a further 55 cases. Twenty were assessed as inadequate and one as poor.

The report said that in many cases police “responded quickly to specific and clear concerns raised about children”. But in some of the cases relating to child sexual exploitation “officers were slower to follow up action”.

It gave one example of three young girls who were found at an older man’s flat after their care home reported them missing. Police took 11 hours to visit the flat.

In another case police “failed to investigate men who had allegedly given drugs to a girl in exchange for sex”.

In cases where children under 16 went missing regularly there was “little police activity and no search for suspects or follow-up action”. It found examples “where the child’s interests had not been given priority and were later lost”.

There were two separate cases of boys aged 11 and 12 alleging that their fathers had assaulted them. But there was no supporting evidence and “as a result, a decision was made to take no further action”.

The HMIC also criticised South Yorkshire Police for detaining children, saying only three of 11 cases they looked at had been “adequately handled”. It recommended that the force look at how best to “ensure that all staff act within the law”.

A report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham by Professor Jay was published in August. It found that police treated victims “with contempt” and often blamed victims for their own abuse.

For more on Professor Jay's Rotherham report go to bit.ly/1xwgqm0

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Tue 30 Sep 2014, 16:48 BST
Issue No. 2423
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