Public confidence in South Yorkshire Police has been severely damaged by these most recent allegations that the Force failed to listen to hundreds of abused young people in Sheffield as we know they failed in Rotherham.
If I am to do my job, I need to be sure that everything that can reasonably be known about the past is known. This is the first and crucial step if the Force is to get itself into a better place.
However, in the light of what has now been revealed I cannot be certain that we are at that point.
Reluctantly, therefore, I now believe that a full ‘Casey-like’ county-wide inspection of South Yorkshire Police is necessary to get to an accepted understanding about the past and whether things have changed - which is the first step to restoring public confidence.
I believe the only authorities that can commission such an inspection are the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Home Secretary. Therefore I am now commissioning such an inspection
I met with a group of Sheffield MPs, the Chief Constable and Sheffield City Council this morning and my office is having urgent discussions with the Home Office to agree on how this inspection should proceed.
The inspection needs to be thorough but not drawn out, sufficiently resourced, and recognise the investigations currently being conducted by the Independent Police Complaints’ Commission and National Crime Agency. The inspection needs to proceed alongside work the Force is already doing with partners to address recommendations in the Professor Jay and Louise Casey reports. It also needs to work alongside the group I have established to listen to the views of victims, survivors and their families which I am feeding into the Force in relation to reports of CSE now.
If anyone has any information to help identify perpetrators of child sexual exploitation across South Yorkshire, or if anyone would like to talk about their experiences as a police officer, former officer or employee of the Force, I would ask them to come forward. They will be listened to and taken seriously.
Posted on Friday 13th March 2015