Police sergeant denies failing to act over child sexual exploitation in Rotherham
An ex-detective has denied failing to act on information about allegations of child sexual exploitation - Muslim Grooming Gangs - explaining at a hearing this week how he was juggling a 'massive caseload' with no training or guidance.
Former detective sergeant David Walker was giving evidence at a misconduct hearing which has heard allegations from Jayne Senior, who ran a youth project called Risky Business in the southern Yorkshire town of Rotherham.
Walker, who began supervising the Rotherham Child Abuse Investigation Unit in 2008, denies all allegations that he ignored key information she supplied to him about alleged child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Walker told the panel looking into his conduct: 'A lot of police officers have been criticised for a lack of inquisitiveness [in relation to CSE in Rotherham].'
But he said: 'That wasn't me'.
He criticised Ms Senior and Risky Business's approach to children who made allegations, saying it led to repeated questioning of youngsters which was 'abusive'.
The former South Yorkshire Police detective told the panel 'there was no training, there was no guidance, there was no handover.'
He said: 'I, more or less, went in there, they said "there you go, crack on".'
Mr Walker told the hearing on Monday how he found himself overseeing up to 180 cases at any time, with 35 new referrals a week, with most of these involving alleged serious offences up to, and including, child rape.
He alleges that he was one of the officers pushing for a better approach to CSE in Rotherham by his force, adding it was 'ludicrous' to suggest that he showed no interest in following up information supplied to him.
The former officer claimed he was passionate about protecting children but told the panel: 'I wasn't a one-stop shop for CSE. We were all a cog in a wheel.'
Walker also explained how he was hampered because the Crown Prosecution Service refused to prosecute any cases which did not have a statement from the child victim.
Among the allegations faced by the former officer is that he failed to investigate information that teenage sisters were having sex with workers from a car wash, and that a council youth worker was passing names of vulnerable girls to potential sex offenders.
He also denies that he failed to properly record Ms Senior's concerns that one suspect threatened young girls with a gun he carried in his car, and that a man who had been arrested for sex offences was encouraging girls as young as 10 to visit his home.
Walker is one of 47 officers and former officers who were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in the wake of the 2014 Jay Report, which described how at least 1,400 children in the town had been subjected to CSE by gangs of men in Rotherham.
A full report on the findings of the IOPC's investigation is expected to be published following the conclusion of Mr Walker's hearing next month.