THE police force at the centre of the controversy over child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has now referred 14 members of its staff to the police watchdog, it has confirmed.
And South Yorkshire Police said it had not ruled out referring more people to the Independent Police Complaints Commission as investigations continue into what happened in the town.
The force has been heavily criticised in the wake of the Jay Report, published in August, which outlined how at least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited by gangs of men in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the report, said senior police and council officials must have known what was happening but failed to act.
In a brief statement, South Yorkshire Police said: “South Yorkshire Police has now referred 14 people to the IPCC and may make further referrals should the criteria be met.
“Both South Yorkshire Police and the independent investigation will remain in constant dialogue with the IPCC.”
The controversy that followed the publication of the report led to a series of high-profile resignations including Rotherham council leader Roger Stone, council chief executive Martin Kimber and council director of children’s services Joyce Thacker.
The most high profile resignation was that of South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright, who was the Rotherham councillor overseeing children’s services between 2005 and 2010.
South Yorkshire’s chief constable David Crompton has also been under pressure to explain his force’s attitude towards CSE over the last 15 years.
Mr Crompton has pledged to investigate individual cases and stressed that his force has seen a massive increase in the number of officers and other staff devoted to tackling CSE in the last couple of years.
Earlier this month, the the National Crime Agency (NCA) announced it would lead an investigation into outstanding allegations of CSE in Rotherham.
The NCA said it was taking on the inquiry following a request from Mr Crompton.
Yesterday, the force was put under further pressure when the former head of a council unit set up to tackle CSE in neighbouring Sheffield told the BBC that senior police officers had not been interested in pursuing offenders.
Ann Lucas said one chief superintendent told her in 2006 that car crime and burglary were higher priorities.