Rotherham child abuse scandal: Ofsted plans early inspection

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Media captionEmma, not her real name: 'Police lost my evidence'

Inspections of children's services at the centre of the child abuse scandal in Rotherham are to be carried out early, the government has said.

In a series of developments, the police watchdog the IPCC is writing to South Yorkshire Police warning "evidence of failures" must be passed on to it.

Deputy police and crime commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire Tracey Cheetham has also resigned.

She has joined David Cameron in calling for her boss, PCC Shaun Wright, to go.

The children's minister Edward Timpson has written to Rotherham Borough Council seeking "urgent reassurance" about how it is responding to the issues identified in Tuesday's report on child abuse in the town.

That inquiry, by Professor Alexis Jay, said at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited from 1997-2013.

'Important priority'

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan added: "I have also agreed with Ofsted that Rotherham will be the subject of an early inspection of its child protection and looked-after-children's services.

"I will not hesitate to take further action if necessary to ensure children are safe. There can be no more important priority."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission deputy chairwoman Rachel Cerfontyn said the report raised "serious concerns" about the actions of South Yorkshire Police.

She said: "As a result we are writing to the chief constable to advise him of the IPCC's expectation that any evidence of failures or misconduct by South Yorkshire Police officers should be referred to us."

Another report, published on Thursday, said South Yorkshire Police was still failing to record crimes against children properly.

The force's public protection unit spent a "great deal of time" trying to "disprove" allegations, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary said.

It criticised the unit for under-recording crime, highlighting the impact this had on vulnerable children who had been victims of sexual assault.

Image copyright South Yorkshire PCC
Image caption Shaun Wright has so far resisted pressure to resign from his post as police commissioner

The HMIC looked at 117 crimes that should have been recorded, but found that only 89 had been.

Police commissioner Shaun Wright has said he will not resign, despite calls from David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the Labour Party for him to do so.

In a statement, Mr Wright said he had "formally" tendered his resignation from the Labour Party.

His deputy said she felt "unable to continue" in the role.

Ms Cheetham: "It is vital for people to have confidence in the office of police and crime commissioner and, with this in mind, I believe it would have been the right thing for Shaun Wright to resign."

Joyce Thacker, strategic director of children and young people's services at Rotherham Council since 2008, has also refused to resign.

Council chief executive Martin Kimber said she was "part of the solution" and should stay.

He added: "There is no evidence in the report that leads me to conclude Joyce Thacker was implicated in suppressing information or failing to react appropriately to emerging issues around child sexual exploitation."

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