Since the publication of the Professor Alexis Jay Report in August 2014, as well as new criminal investigations and prosecutions, a number of other investigations, reviews and inspections have occurred, or are still ongoing.
The Drew Review has been commissioned by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner to look specifically at South Yorkshire Police’s handling of reports of child sexual exploitation and to ensure that lessons have been learned and processes changed.
This section of the website provides a brief overview of the activity that is underway.
South Yorkshire Police
South Yorkshire Police’s Public Protection Unit has been expanded to include a further 62 police officers and staff dedicated to tackling issues such as child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, missing from home and female genital mutilation (FGM).
As of 31 August 2015 South Yorkshire Police has a total of 151 live investigations relating to child sexual exploitation.
A section on the South Yorkshire Police website provides a breakdown of the number of child sexual exploitation referrals, live investigations and criminal proceedings currently taking place across the Force. This is updated on a monthly basis.
Please visit the South Yorkshire Police website for a full break of their activity and frequently asked questions.
Professor Alexis Jay Report
Professor Alexis Jay’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham was commissioned by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in October 2013 and published on 26 August 2014.
Covering the periods of 1997-2009 and 2009 – 2013, it looked at how Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s Children’s Services dealt with child sexual exploitation cases.
The report found evidence of sexual exploitation of at least 1400 children in Rotherham over this period.
Louise Casey Report
On 10 September 2014, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government used his powers under section 10 of the Local Government Act 1999 to appoint Louise Casey CB to carry out an inspection of the compliance of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council with the requirements of Part 1 of that Act, in relation to the council’s exercise of its functions on governance, children and young people, and taxi and private hire licensing.
Her report, published in February 2015, concluded that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council was not fit for purpose and was failing in its duties to protect vulnerable children and young people from harm.
It also highlighted serious failings on the part of South Yorkshire Police in their investigations around child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary (HMIC)
In August 2013, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire Police commissioned HMIC to provide:
- An independent assessment of the effectiveness and resilience of the current arrangements in place within South Yorkshire Police to protect children from sexual exploitation; and
- Recommendations for improvement.
Following the above mentioned report South Yorkshire Police provided an action plan to HMIC in November 2014, setting out how it intended to respond to the recommendations in the inspection report. Inspectors carried out a post inspection review in late April/early May 2015 to assess progress with the implementation of the recommendations.
National Crime Agency (NCA) Operation Stovewood
Operation Stovewood is an independent investigation into non-familial child sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, (the geographic area and time period covered by Alexis Jay Report of 2014).
The operation is being conducted at the request of South Yorkshire Chief Constable David Crompton. Terms of Reference were agreed in December 2014. A summary of these is available on the NCA website:
The NCA has full direction and control of the investigation. The NCA also coordinates activity across all relevant criminal investigations into past abuse in Rotherham, to ensure that all law enforcement opportunities are explored and that there is no duplication of activity against offenders.
The investigation has three priorities:
- Working with partners to support victims and survivors, regardless of whether they can support any investigation or court case.
- Targeting offenders, following all potential lines of enquiry.
- Building confidence in the investigation among victims and survivors, partners and the public.
Operation Stovewood is not responsible for investigating:
- Police misconduct (South Yorkshire Police and/or Independent Police Complaints Commission)
- Other professional misconduct (Relevant agency or professional body)
- Past failings in investigations or safeguarding duties (Justice Lowell-Goddard – national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse)
Roy McComb, NCA Deputy Director for Specialist Investigations, is the officer in overall command of Operation Stovewood.
A Major Incident Room has been established with officers working from a number of locations in South Yorkshire.
More officers are being recruited and the size and skill set of the investigation team will flex in accordance with operational needs.
Timescale and cost
The investigation is funded by South Yorkshire Police and will take at least three years. The NCA will operate in an open and transparent manner and regularly update on the progress of the investigation.
The NCA has prioritised two specific investigations within the wider Operation Stovewood investigation at this time. Updates will be published on the National Crime Agency website when available.
Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)
In November 2014 the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched an investigation into how South Yorkshire Police handled reported child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
The IPCC is also in contact with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse led by Hon Lowell Goddard.