Socialist Worker

Shocking new figures reveal neglect and corruption across police forces

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2532

Several police forces are under investigation for failures in dealing with historic child sexual abuse cases

Several police forces are under investigation for failures in dealing with historic child sexual abuse cases

The cops’ pet watchdog has received “complaints”—including potential “high level corruption”—regarding police handling of child sexual abuse cases.

Some 187 Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigations are ongoing into potential police failings in dealing with historic child sexual abuse cases. They cover 18 police forces in England and Wales.

A BBC Freedom of Information request revealed that 27 completed inquiries have resulted in potential disciplinary action against up to 15 police officers.

Of the 187 investigations, 56 relate to alleged failures by South Yorkshire Police in responding to allegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. Another 46 relate to the Metropolitan Police and 58 to Essex Police.

Some cases include claims that police stopped investigations despite uncovering evidence of abuse. There are also claims that investigations were shut down and prosecutions not pursued because the suspects were politicians.

A separate report found that police in London are putting children at risk because of “serious errors” in their response to sexual abuse. The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) reviewed 384 cases and found that three quarters were handled inadequately or required improvement.

One case involved a ten year old girl suspected of being abused by her father and witnessing her father assault her mother.

Police did not speak to the girl even after an internal review highlighted this mistake.


Police also failed to investigate allegations that a 13 year old girl was being abused by older men—even after a review highlighted the error.

The HMIC reviewed 38 cases of missing and absent children—and judged 36 as requiring improvement or inadequate.

Some 38 cases were referred back to the Met because they had placed a child or children at continued risk.

The Met had assessed one as requiring improvement and three as inadequate. No action had been taken on any of them.

Some right wing newspapers have tried to downplay the scale of child abuse. Yet the abuse currently being uncovered within football is another sign of how widespread the problem is.

Complaints have been made relating to alleged abuse by staff at Leeds and Blackpool football clubs. Other complaints involve Crewe, Manchester City, Stoke and Newcastle.

More than 20 footballers have so far come forward with allegations of abuse. Gordon Taylor from the Professional Footballers’ Association said, “I’m expecting there will be more.

“This could be throughout the country in the same way it’s been in other professions where children are there—in the church, in schools.”

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