Rotherham inquiry: Thirty five officers 'still being investigated'

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The police watchdog is investigating complaints into how child sex abuse allegations were handled in Rotherham

Thirty-five South Yorkshire Police officers continue to be investigated following the Rotherham grooming scandal, the police watchdog said.

In August 2014, a damning report stated 1,400 girls had been sexually exploited in the town, with local authorities failing to take the issue seriously.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) aims to finish its inquiries by April "at the latest".

A report will be published "soon after" this point, an IPCC spokesperson said.

The IPCC is investigating complaints connected to former and serving police officers into how they handled child sex abuse allegations in Rotherham.

It previously said it was conducting 62 inquiries with 30 officers formally investigated, with that figure rising to 88 investigations into 35 officers.

The figure had increased after some of the "more complex investigations" were split into smaller ones, a spokesperson said.

'Highly sensitive issues'

Professor Alexis Jay's 2014 report detailed how children as young as 11 had been subjected to trafficking, rape and other sexual exploitation between 1997 to 2013 by gangs of men who were predominantly of Pakistani origin.

Initial inquiries by the IPCC began in late 2014 after South Yorkshire Police referred 14 members of staff to the police watchdog.

It has now grown into the "the second largest operation" the IPCC has undertaken after the Hillsborough inquiry.

In a statement, the IPCC said: "The very nature of these investigations makes them difficult to conclude quickly, we are dealing with highly sensitive issues and the allegations can date back decades.

"Our priority is to conclude our investigations rigorously and thoroughly and we thank the survivors and all those affected by these investigations for their patience and understanding."

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