South Yorkshire Police chiefs refer 14 officers to watchdog over child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham

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Police chiefs in South Yorkshire have referred 14 members of staff to the police watchdog over the force’s handling of child sexual exploitation.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been given the names of members of staff that bosses believe could have cases to answer.

They were referred for investigation in the wake of Professor Alexis Jay’s damning report into child sex abuse in Rotherham, which said 1,400 children were groomed and attacked over a 16 year period while those in authority turned a blind eye because of cultural sensitivities over the ethnicity of the offenders - largely Pakistani men.

Professor Jay said senior police and council officials must have known what was happening but failed to act.

An independent inquiry, overseen by the National Crime Agency, is underway into the actions of South Yorkshire Police and its officers between 1997 and 2013, which the Jay Report concentrated on.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman aid: “South Yorkshire Police has now referred 14 people to the IPCC and may make further referrals should the criteria be met.

“Both South Yorkshire Police and the independent investigation will remain in constant dialogue with the IPCC.”

Keith Vaz, Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which has quizzed police and council chiefs over the way child sexual exploitation allegations were dealt with in South Yorkshire, said: “Well it’s very very disturbing that so many members of South Yorkshire Police have been referred to the IPCC.

“If this goes on much further the IPCC will need to move its headquarters from London up to South Yorkshire.

“I think it’s really important that we get to the bottom of what’s going on, that proper due process is shown so that local people can be satisfied that policing is being handled well.”