Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police child abuse force failings 'laid bare'

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Media captionS Yorks Police Chief, David Crompton: "If people have done things wrong they will be disciplined"

The police force at the centre of the Rotherham child abuse scandal has admitted its failings over a number of years have been laid bare.

A report on child sexual exploitation published on Tuesday found at least 1,400 children were abused from 1997 to 2013.

The inquiry found a "collective failure" by the authorities.

South Yorkshire's Chief Constable David Crompton said Professor Alexis Jay's report made painful reading.

"The report into CSE (child sexual exploitation) in Rotherham laid bare the failings of South Yorkshire Police over a number of years.

"This made for painful reading. However, I am determined that we will use the findings of the report to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated," said Mr Crompton.

The chief constable said he was seeking a meeting with Professor Jay "to fully understand her detailed findings and properly address any concerns".

He said of the four officers named in the report, only one remained with the force.

'Disregard for victims'

A separate report published on Thursday criticised South Yorkshire Police for failing to record crime against children properly.

It said the force's public protection unit showed "a disregard for victims".

But Mr Crompton said the force had begun to "see a number of new reports about child sexual exploitation" since publication of Prof Jay's findings.

"I interpret this as a sign of confidence amongst victims that the force, as it stands now, will take these matters seriously and investigate them fully," he said.

Those in charge of care services in Rotherham, while children were being abused mainly by men of Pakistani heritage, have faced calls for them to resign from their current jobs.

They include Sonia Sharp, who was in charge of children's services from 2003 to 2008 and now works in Australia.

Shaun Wright, who is now South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and was the councillor in Rotherham responsible for children's services from 2005-2010 has refused to resign.

But the deputy PCC Tracey Cheetham resigned on Thursday, calling for her boss to go too.

A former Rotherham care home worker has told the BBC how girls as young as 11 were "brazenly" groomed and abused in the South Yorkshire town.

The man, who worked at children's homes for four years, said girls would be picked up by taxis and abusers made "no attempts to disguise" their actions.

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