Louise Casey, whose review of Rotherham Council led to the Government seizing control of the crisis hit authority, said South Yorkshire Police had not had its child abuse failings fully examined.
Ms Casey appeared before MPs to set out what she found when looking into child sexual exploitation at the council, and what is likely to happen once four commissioners are appointed to take charge of the authority.
The inspector said she was “surprised by the level of denial” she found when looking at the council nine months after the initial Jay report revealed it turned a blind eye to 1,400 cases of child abuse by mostly Pakistani men.
Asked by MPs on the Communities Select Committee whether enough was known about South Yorkshire Police’s role, Ms Casey said there had not been enough done to look at its failings.
“South Yorkshire Police need to look at the failure to help victims full stop. That same scrutiny facing the council has not happened to the police.
“The police have to step up to accept the same level of responsibility to those victims.”
Police watchdog officials at the IPCC are carrying out an investigation into police failings, while the National Crime Agency is considering criminal charges.
Ms Casey went on to say she thought the people of Rotherham needed the break that a government takeover of the council would bring.
She said: “When I was carrying out this work, people in Rotherham would say to me they feel ashamed to live there.
“That’s not right, they don’t deserve that and the change will help them.”