Police watchdog urged to speed up investigation into force's response to Rotherham sex abuse

The Jay Report revealed the scale of the abuse in Rotherham
The Jay Report revealed the scale of the abuse in Rotherham

AN ONGOING investigation into South Yorkshire Police’s response to the abuse of children in Rotherham should be completed “as quickly as possible”, the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

Dr Alan Billings spoke out after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) revealed it was now extending its investigation to former members of the force’s senior command team over claims they failed to protect children from sexual exploitation.

He said: “Any complaint about misconduct must be taken seriously. However, I would urge the IOPC to progress their investigation as quickly as possible.

“It is unfair on complainants, the public, and any officers in scope, to have investigations taking long periods of time.”

It is not the first time Dr Billings has expressed concerns at the length of time the IOPC’s dedicated Operation Linden is taking. It was begun by the body’s predecessor, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, in the wake of the 2014 Jay report which found at least 1,400 children from Rotherham were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013 while those in authority failed to act.

IOPC Acting Deputy Director for Major Investigations, Steve Noonan, said: “We recognise that our investigation into the police’s handling of reports of child sex abuse in Rotherham can cause great anxiety for all those involved, in particular the survivors of the abuse.

“Our focus is to carry out a thorough investigation that will give everyone affected and the general public, confidence that every line of enquiry has been robustly explored. We keep survivors and subjects regularly updated and as each investigation is concluded, those affected are informed of the outcome.”