They knew and did nothing: Police and councillor ‘protected Rotherham grooming ringleader’

Peter Mann, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, and Temp DCI Martin Tait of South Yorkshire Police speak to the media outside Sheffield Crown Court

Peter Mann, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, and Temp DCI Martin Tait of South Yorkshire Police speak to the media outside Sheffield Crown Court

More than 194 allegations about the conduct of police relating to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham are now being examined by the police watchdog following a trial peppered with familiar claims that agencies knew what was happening but failed to act.

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Brothers (from left) Arshid Hussain, Basharat Hussain and Bannaras Hussain, who have been found guilty of a range of offences involving the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham.

Brothers (from left) Arshid Hussain, Basharat Hussain and Bannaras Hussain, who have been found guilty of a range of offences involving the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rotherham.

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Karen MacGregor, 58, (left) and Shelley Davies, 40

Karen MacGregor, 58, (left) and Shelley Davies, 40

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Some of the women who took to the witness box recounted a now well-known story of how they were not believed or simply ignored.

One police officer was even named by a victim who said he was actually having sex with girls involved in the exploitation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) it is now involved in 55 ongoing investigations into “allegations about how South Yorkshire Police dealt with child sexual exploitation in Rotherham”.

The commission said these cover a range of allegations, from a failure to act on reported child sexual exploitation to corruption. The IPCC said it is undertaking “ongoing research and analysis work” into more than 194 allegations made by 41 complainants to date - 92 of the allegations relate to police officers who have been identified, but 102 involve as yet unidentified officers.

It said 54 officers have been named to date - 26 of these have been advised they are the subject of an investigation that, if proven, would amount to misconduct ,and the remaining 28 are subject to ongoing assessment. During the trial, one woman who spent three days describing how she was repeatedly abused and assaulted from the age of 11, told the jury how she told a detective called Kenneth Dawes about what happened but no action was taken.

She said: “He used to have sex with girls and he used to take drugs from people and pass them on to Ash.”

The jury was told Pc Dawes was arrested last year and is currently under investigation.

Another police officer who was mentioned in the trial - Pc Hassan Ali - died last year following a collision on a road in Sheffield.

Pc Ali was under investigation by the IPCC at the time of his death following complaints about his dealings with alleged child sexual exploitation victims.

Claims of failures by Rotherham Council representatives were also made in the trial.

One woman took to the witness box to describe how a councillor was involved in a deal for Arshid Hussain - described as the ringleader - to return her when she went missing with him.

She said the councillor had rung Hussain and arranged for her to be dropped off at a petrol station on the understanding “he wouldn’t get done”.

And many victims told how they were spirited away from children’s homes by their abusers with the knowledge of those in charge.

One said Basharat Hussain picked her up with friend from a care home when she was 12 years old, saying: “Is it OK to bring them back at 11?”

One of the charges of abduction faced by Arshid Hussain was dropped halfway through the trial because it was accepted by the judge that a council-approved foster carer allowed the 15-year-old girl involved to go off with the defendant.

Another victim, who said she was made to work as a teenage prostitute, told the jury she had proof police and social workers knew that she was being abused by Arshid Hussain in 2000. She said: “Why did they leave it 15 years before knocking on my door and saying they knew?”

The tearful mother of one of the victims told the trial how she found an exercise book in which her daughter had recorded heartbreaking details of the abuse to which she was subject.

The woman said the police and social services were not interested in the book and she later burned it.

Some of the women cited distrust of the police as they told the court why they went to the media to tell their stories - especially to The Times - before they went to the authorities.

One said: “The only reason the police started this investigation was because The Times printed my story.”

IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said: “Our investigative work examining allegations about how South Yorkshire Police responded to reported child sexual exploitation in Rotherham continues to expand. This is complex work dealing with non-recent allegations and involving vulnerable and traumatised victims. We are committed to ensuring the allegations are investigated sensitively and thoroughly.”

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