Rotherham abuse scandal: Findings of major probe into police conduct will be published next year

A police watchdog will be able to publish a long-awaited report in March on a seven-year investigation into alleged police misconduct during the Rotherham sex abuse scandal.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has conducted a seven-year investigation into alleged police misconduct during the Rotherham sex abuse scandal.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has conducted 91 separate investigations into the force’s conduct between 1997 and 2013 as part of Operation Linden.

Launched in 2014, it has grown to become the second biggest inquiry in the organisation’s history after its probe into the Hillsborough disaster, and it was completed earlier this year.

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The IOPC said it was not able to publish the report until a gross misconduct hearing has been completed and South Yorkshire Police say that hearing is due to conclude on March 30 in 2022.

“Our priority is also to fully update the survivors we have been engaging with before we share any further details,” said an IOPC spokesman.

“After all linked proceedings have concluded we intend to publish an over-arching report covering all of our findings, outcomes and the systemic issues we identified from our work on Operation Linden.”

Sammy Woodhouse, a survivor of child abuse in Rotherham, said: “The report is now finished. They need to hurry up with the hearing, do what they need to do, and let this report come out so we can at least have some answers, and find out what's happening.

“We've been in this a lot longer than seven years now. I'm now 36 and this started for me when I was 14 years old.

“I personally want professionals to be held to account. We're not talking about one or two people being failed here.”

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, said: “I am in close contact with IOPC as the victims and survivors need to know the truth about those who investigated their cases.

“It is extremely frustrating how long the inquiry is taking, but I would rather it be done right than rushed. Securing justice is the most important thing.”

An independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, which was led by Professor Alexis Jay, was completed in 2014.

The report said an estimated 1,400 children were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013 and the “collective failures of political and officer leadership were blatant”.

It prompted the National Crime Agency (NCA) to launch an investigation – called Operation Stovewood – Rotherham into child sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013.

The NCA said last year it had more than 200 people working on Operation Stovewood, which had a yearly budget of just under £12m, and it had engaged with 313 alleged victims and survivors in the town and identified 190 suspects.