May told: Bring in law change to make police tsar step down

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THE Home Secretary is to be asked to introduce emergency legislation to remove the South Yorkshire Police Commissioner from his role, it has emerged.

The Home Affairs Select Committee is to request the change in the law after embattled commissioner Shaun Wright appeared before its members to defend his role in the Rotherham sex abuse scandal.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz

Committee chairman Keith Vaz

Chairman Keith Vaz called on Mr Wright to resign as a matter of honour, and said he would write to Theresa May amid concern the law made it impossible to force out the man who was head of children’s services at Rotherham Council as abuse was overlooked.

It comes on a further day of shame for officials involved in the handling of 1,400 incidents of abuse and rape in the town.

Since the Jay Report was published, the committee heard yesterday, 24 new victims have come forward.

At the same time South 
Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton, also appearing before the committee, revealed that one officer will be referred to the IPCC police watchdog 
after the Jay Report revealed 
he had left a young drunk girl with her abusers in a derelict building because it was “100 per cent consensual”.

New evidence has also emerged, given to the committee behind closed doors, suggesting what one MP described as “a conspiracy” at the force.

A Home Office researcher has said that when she was asked to look at what was then considered child prostitution, in 2002, she was treated with “hostility and anger” by the force.

The researcher told the committee she was threatened in her car at night by two police officers who told her “Wouldn’t it be a bad thing if some of these men found out where you lived?” and she feared for her life.

All the files relating to her report were removed from the child services team Risky Business one weekend. There was no police investigation into either incident.

The committee also called on council chief executive Martin Kimber to sack children’s director Joyce Thacker since she refused to join him in stepping down.

Much of the committee’s focus was reserved for Mr Wright, who was told he had damaged the image of commissioners, perhaps beyond repair.

Mr Wright told the committee he believed he was “doing a very good job” and said he had received messages of support from MPs and others.

He told the committee that being forced to quit the Labour Party had been “very painful”.

He said: “I have taken my position. I feel a duty to serve out my term of office and the Labour Party have taken their position for their reasons.”

Mr Wright told the MPs: “I can’t honestly say I was aware of the industrial scale that’s been described by Professor Jay until I read the report.

“The best apology that anyone in my position can give a victim is to do our utmost to make sure that they receive the support that they need to recover and that we put in place proper measures to prevent it happening to other people.”

Labour MP Paul Flynn said the reason Mr Wright was not going was “out of love of your salary” and that he was the least credible witness he had ever seen.

He added: “You are a busted flush, you’re a dead PCC walking. No one will take you seriously in future, you will have no influence. What is the point in continuing?”

Mr Vaz called for Mr Wright to resign and questioned the quality of his evidence.

“It is the unanimous view of this committee that you should resign immediately. For your own sense of honour you should do so immediately.

“I will be writing to the Home Secretary to see if there can be the possibility of emergency legislation to deal with a situations such as yours.”