Rotherham Grooming Gangs: NO officers have been sacked despite 260 complaints
A report into the Rotherham Muslim Grooming Gang scandal has revealed almost 50 police officers all kept their jobs despite looking the other way as at least 1,400 girls were abused, trafficked and groomed.
The long-awaited investigation by the police watchdog - which took eight years to publish and cost £6m - found officers in South Yorkshire 'failed to protect vulnerable children' following a series of offences carried out between 1997 and 2013.
A total of 47 current and former officers were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) - but none were fired, despite 265 separate allegations being made by more than 50 complainants.
The IOPC's investigation catalogued how children as young as 12 were seen as 'consenting' to their abuse by officers, who were told to prioritise other crimes.
Sammy Woodhouse, 37, who was groomed and raped from the age of 14, told the Mirror: 'Not one person has been held to account for anything, despite all this evidence they have and they've retired and got full pensions.
'It's been a ten year fight and I've put my heart and soul into everything. I have gone into detail to the police, to the IOPC, to report after report, to training events.
'I am trying to have people held to account but have not been successful. If you look at all the other places such as Rochdale, no one has been held to account for that. They are just able to get away with it. I'm disgusted.'
The IOPC report detailed how one parent concerned about a missing daughter said they were told by an officer '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 identified systemic problems within South Yorkshire Police at the time, detailing how CSE in Rotherham was dealt with by a small 'overwhelmed' unit, which had a number of other responsibilities.
The report criticised the force for prioritising other crimes, such as burglary and vehicle crime, at the expense of CSE and it found 'little evidence that SYP's leadership identified, and acted on, emerging concerns about (CSE)'.
IOPC director of major investigations Steve Noonan said: 'Our report shows how SYP failed to protect vulnerable children and young people.
'Like other agencies in Rotherham at that time, it was simply not equipped to deal with the abuse and organised grooming of young girls on the scale we encountered.'
Mr Noonan praised the survivors of CSE in Rotherham who came forward to help his investigators conduct the biggest inquiry the watchdog has undertaken apart from the Hillsborough disaster probe.
He said 51 people made complaints, including 44 survivors, involving 265 separate allegations.
Of the 47 officers investigated, eight were found to have a case to answer for misconduct and six had a case to answer for gross misconduct.
Five of these officers received sanctions ranging from management action up to a final written warning. Another faced a South Yorkshire Police misconduct hearing earlier this year, and the case was found not proven by an independent panel.
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 Rotherham CSE survivors said: 'It shows the British public the level of disregard shown by South Yorkshire Police to female victims of sexual exploitation, 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.'