A senior police officer admitted that his force ignored the sexual abuse of girls by Pakistani grooming gangs for decades because it was afraid of increasing “racial tensions”, a watchdog has ruled.
After a five-year investigation, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) upheld a complaint that the Rotherham officer told a missing child’s distraught father that the town “would erupt” if it was known that Asian men were routinely having sex with under-age white girls.
The chief inspector is said to have described the abuse as “P*** shagging” and to have said it had been “going on” for 30 years: “With it being Asians, we can’t afford for this to be coming out.”
The girl’s father told The Times a senior officer had spoken about his daughter “as though she was an adult doing it of her own free will” and that he had confronted the policeman to say “she was a child and this was child abuse”.
he Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) upheld six complaints by the woman against the force, according to a leaked confidential report quoted by the newspaper. The watchdog said it was “very clear that you were sexually exploited by Asian men” and upheld a complaint that police “took insufficient action to prevent you from harm”,
Its 13-page document, seen by The Times, was issued two days after a critical review of multiple police failings during a botched inquiry into the organised sexual abuse of vulnerable young girls by men of Pakistani heritage in Manchester.
Until now police forces across the north and the Midlands have consistently denied that concerns about upsetting community sensitivities or accusations of racism were a factor in their past failure to tackle grooming gangs.
Steve Noonan, IOPC’s director of major investigations, said: “We are continuing to make significant progress with Operation Linden and we have completed more than 90% of the enquiries we have identified so far.
“A small number of investigation reports still need to be completed and our investigation into the actions of the former senior command team at South Yorkshire Police during the period of our investigation continues and is progressing well.
South Yorkshire Police had accepted the watchdog’s findings, adding that the unnamed chief inspector’s alleged comments were “not something we tolerate in today’s force”.
The watchdog has informed the young woman that its report has been shared with the South Yorkshire force, She was told that the IOPC was unable to identify the chief inspector. It interviewed 16 police officers known to have had dealings with the girl during her years of exploitation but the report said that “none of them could recall their involvement with you”.
The complainant and her family said they were pleased by the watchdog’s findings but did not believe that any officer would be held to account.
Earlier this week, a damning report into Greater Manchester Police’s 2004 investigation into Asian grooming gangs preying on vulnerable girls in Manchester revealed senior officers suspected young girls were being abused “in plain sight” by the gangs but did nothing to help.
I thought the girl’s father must have known the name of the officer he spoke to. Turns out it didn’t – it was a brief phone call and the officer hung up on the father.