Rotherham child sexual abuse operation continues to grow
The number of investigations into South Yorkshire Police’s response to non-recent allegations of child sexual abuse (CSA) in Rotherham, has grown significantly during the last year.
Operation Linden, our operation looking into the allegations, grew to 98 investigations by the beginning of April 2018 compared with 62 investigations at the same point in 2017.
Forty-five investigation reports have been completed and 33 current and former police officers remain under notice that they are being investigated.
When Operation Linden has concluded we will publish an over-arching report covering our findings. We will not publicise the outcomes of individual investigations until that report is published, however we can confirm that some of the investigations concluded so far have identified potential misconduct.
In some of the investigations where we haven’t found misconduct we have put forward interim learning recommendations, particularly around the recording of information and the retention of archived materials.
IOPC Acting Deputy Director of Major Investigations, Steve Noonan said:
“Every allegation put to us is treated sensitively and the welfare of survivors is always paramount. We are supporting 53 survivors and a number of complainants through a very difficult period, when they are also being asked to give evidence to the National Crime Agency to support their investigations into the terrible crimes committed in Rotherham. We would like to thank the survivors and everyone affected by our investigations for their patience and co-operation while we continue with this very important work.
Operation Linden is the second largest independent investigation we have ever carried out, and both the complexities involved and the size of the task should not be under-estimated. We have a dedicated team of 35 investigators and support staff in place who have analysed more than 15,139 documents and pieces of evidence so far.
We are determined that every investigation is carried out thoroughly and that every available line of enquiry is looked at in detail. As well as the sensitivities involved in engaging with survivors, we are also dealing with evidence that sometimes dates back to the late 1990s. The timeframes involved are very challenging and in a significant number of cases we are unable to identify the officers involved. However, even where we’ve been unable to identify officers, we will still conclude our investigations to see if any conduct or learning can be identified.
We will publish an over-arching report; combining the outcomes of our investigations when they are all complete. Our aim is to not only highlight any conduct matters relating to individual officers but, crucially, to share our understanding of why such serious allegations often weren’t investigated and how this can be avoided in the future. Ultimately, we want those affected to be confident that their complaints have been comprehensively investigated, and for South Yorkshire Police and indeed all forces across the country to learn from our findings.”
The increase in the number of investigations is due to new referrals being received from the force, and a review of the operation we conducted in the summer of 2017 where some investigations were split to help us complete them more effectively.
The 45 investigations completed are at various stages of approval in line with the Police Reform Act and not all of them have been shared with South Yorkshire Police at this stage.
The 98 Operation Linden investigations include our investigation into whether former South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright committed perjury when giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2014.
Three of the completed investigations have been carried out by South Yorkshire Police, but were managed by us.