Police Officer in charge of Rotherham child abuse unit failed to investigate tip off that teenage schoolgirls were having sex with car wash workers, misconduct hearing is told
Former Detective Sergeant David Walker, who worked for South Yorkshire Police, also failed to investigate intelligence that a council youth worker was passing on the names of vulnerable girls to potential sex offenders, a panel was told. Mr Walker is facing a misconduct hearing in relation to the Rotherham child sexual exploitation (CSE) scandal which engulfed police and social services in the town. He denies all allegations outlined against him.
The allegations also involve claims he failed to record concerns made in a series of emails from Jayne Senior, who ran a youth project in the area called Risky Business.
These emails included information that a teenage girl had been raped by a man in the presence of an accomplice, that one suspect threatened young girls with a gun he carried in his car and that a man who had been arrested on suspicion of sex offences was encouraging girls as young as 10 to visit his home.
Opening the case on Monday, Daniel Hobbs described how Mr Walker was in charge of Rotherham Child Abuse Investigation Unit between 2008 and 2012.
He told the panel of how Mr Walker was informed by a uniformed neighbourhood officer about how he had come across a drunk 15-year-old girl whose mother had told him she was concerned about her daughter and her 13-year-old sister.
These concerns involved the girl forming relationships and having sex with adult males working at a car wash in Rotherham.
However, Mr Hobbs told the hearing that Mr Walker ‘did nothing with this information’. He said the former officer did not record the intelligence, did not interview either of the two girls nor did he make any further inquiries with the neighbourhood officer who first reported the concerns.
Mr Hobbs told the panel that one record made by Mr Walker said: ‘This appears to be a matter for social services. Please liaise and finalise.’
The barrister said the officer continued to fail to investigate the matter, despite subsequently learning more about the vulnerability of the girls. He told the misconduct hearing that a social worker said one of the two sisters was the ‘highest risk case she had ever dealt with’.
The panel also heard further allegations that Mr Walker failed to act on information from Risky Business that a Rotherham council youth worker was abusing his position and passing the names of vulnerable girls to potential abusers.
This third allegation relates to a series of emails sent to him by Ms Senior which he failed to act upon. Mr Hobbs added: ‘Some of these emails contained serious information about rape, historic rape and people driving around with guns in the boots of their cars.’ . . . included information such as a suspected sex offender inviting girls as young as 10 to visit his home, while another man had raped a 15-year-old girl. Another said a 30-year-old sex offender was the father of a girl’s unborn baby,
Mr Walker, who accepted he did not input some emails on a police database, denies misconduct or gross misconduct. The former officer had been working as part of a specialist unit in Maltby, Rotherham, looking at CSE in the town. During the opening of the case, the hearing was told Mr Walker will argue that non-familial child abuse was beyond the remit of his Rotherham Child Abuse Investigation Unit.
Mr Walker is one of 47 officers and former officers who were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal came to light. The hearing was adjourned to 21 March when the panel will begin to hear evidence.