Rotherham:South Yorkshire Police: Cop told dad of rape victim sex attack would ‘teach’ her a ‘lesson’ – report claims

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Coming hard on the heels of the report into the failings of Oldham Council and the Greater Manchester Police. From the Sheffield Star and The Metro

A damning new report into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham says the force made ‘systemic’ and ‘significant’ failures, but despite this, no officer investigated has lost their job or been found to have failed in their statutory duties.

One of the incidents highlighted in the report involved the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl in a Rotherham park. (If this is the case I think it is, there is no ‘alleged’ about it any more; the jury had no doubt that it occurred and the rapist was convicted. It happened.) 

The father of the girl, who needed surgery after the horrific attack, was reportedly told by an ‘insensitive’ officer involved in the case that the sex attack it would ‘teach’ her a ‘lesson’.

It was one of a number of shocking incidents described in the damning report.

Published just minutes ago, the report from police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), under the banner of Operation Linden, looks at South Yorkshire Police’s (SYP) responses to allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Despite the failures outlined in the report, which covers 91 separate investigations started between 2014 and 2018, the IOPC has concluded that its ‘investigators found no evidence that individual members of the force failed in their statutory duties’.

The publication of the £6million report comes eight years after the bombshell report from Professor Alexis Jay in 2014 which concluded that failures by police and politicians contributed to the sexual exploitation of around 1,400 children in Rotherham by groups of men in the town, predominately of Pakistani-heritage.

In the report’s forward, IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood said investigators found that officers were ‘not fully aware, or able, to deal with child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSA/E) offences’ and showed ‘insufficient empathy’ towards survivors who were vulnerable children and young people.

“Survivors’ complaints reveal they were not always believed when reporting what had happened to them and this has had a lasting impact on their lives and their trust and confidence in the police. . .  Many vulnerable individuals were seen as problems not victims. Especially children in care. They were labelled as responsible for their own actions in many cases,”

One such survivor told investigators: “I was told repeatedly by the police that I was responsible for my own actions for allowing myself to be a victim.”

The report also highlights an incident in which an allegation that a 15-year-old girl had been raped in a Rotherham park was made to SYP, and an ‘insensitive’ officer involved in the case subsequently suggested to her father that it would ‘teach’ her a ‘lesson’.

It states: “The survivor had significant internal injuries which, hospital and social care staff suspected, could be consistent with rape, and they required surgery. We were told by the survivor’s father that the officer dealing with the incident was insensitive and made no attempt to reassure the survivor, even suggesting to their father that this would ‘teach’ the survivor a ‘lesson’.”

During the same period covered by the report, a police officer allegedly told a parent who raised concerns about their daughter being missing and being involved with older men that it was a ‘fashion accessory’ for girls in Rotherham to have an ‘older Asian boyfriend’ and that she would grow out of it.” The IOPC said they have been unable to investigate this incident further due to those involved being unable to identify the officer in question.

The small unit dealing with reports was ‘overwhelmed’ while the force prioritised other crimes, it found. Funding and performance targets prioritised acquisitive crime such as burglary and car crime at the expense of other crimes including CSA/E related offences.

Only the inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster surpasses the Rotherham probe in scale but just six officers were investigated for gross misconduct and none lost their jobs. In many cases, officers had retired and could not face disciplinary proceedings, the IOPC said. Only two cases reached the point of a public adjudication hearing.

David Greenwood, a solicitor representing 80 survivors, said the report uncovers the ‘disregard shown…to female victims of sexual exploitation’. He continued: ‘… it explains that even by the pathetically low standards of the police service it was ‘okay’ to not investigate these crimes properly or at all, and it will demonstrate how the system of police complaints has provided zero accountability and needs reform.

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