Rotherham abuse case: Misconduct inquiry centres on 30 officers

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South Yorkshire Police signImage source, PA
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Thirty officers are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over 211 allegations of alleged misconduct

Investigations into how 30 police officers handled child sex abuse complaints in Rotherham have begun, the police watchdog said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said 211 allegations were made against 91 officers over corruption and failure to act.

Of those identified 30 will be formally investigated, the watchdog said.

Nine of the 62 inquiries to date have been completed and found no evidence of police misconduct, it added.

Rachel Cerfontyne, deputy chair of the IPCC, said: "We've certainly found things that have gone wrong and we've certainly found significant failings but in terms of the individuals, whilst we've got concerns around some performance, we've not found is any indication of misconduct."

She added that as a result of the inquiry at least one officer had been interviewed under caution but no charges had been brought.

An IPCC spokesperson said it had made "learning recommendations" to the force concerning the recording of information and the retention of archived materials."

Details of the nature of the allegations at the centre of the nine investigations have not been revealed.

'Intolerable' delay

However, Ms Cerfontyne said they related to "leadership, crime reporting and intelligence, as well as attitudes towards survivors and suspected offenders, and the ineffectiveness of police engagement with other agencies".

Inquiries began in November 2014 after South Yorkshire Police referred 13 officers to the IPCC and has now grown into the "the second largest operation" the IPCC has undertaken after the Hillsborough inquiry.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, said the length of time the investigation is taking was "intolerable and unfair" on victims and officers and described it as a "denial of natural justice".

Ms Cerfontyne said Dr Billings concerns were "entirely understandable" but the IPCC's priority was to ensure all claims were carried out "rigorously and thoroughly".

She added the inquiry had been slowed down by a number of factors including the fact new allegations continue to be received, the most recent of which were lodged on Monday.

South Yorkshire Police said it was pleased that a number of inquiries had been concluded but that it shared concerns over the time taken to complete the investigation.