South Yorkshire Police Accused Of Failing To Protect Children From Sexual Abuse

An Investigation Into The Way Allegations Were Dealt With Is Underway

23.10.2014

Senior police officers have been accused of failing to act on information concerning the sexual exploitation of children in Sheffield.

Ann Lucas, who ran a council-based service to help the victims of sexual abuse get the support they needed between 2001 and 2012, said she regularly passed on information to the police, but found they often were reluctant to investigate alleged offences.

She added that she was told by senior officers in Sheffield that their main priorities were “actually car crime and burglary”.

The South Yorkshire Police force is already under severe scrutiny following the recent report into child sexual exploitation that took place over a long period of time in Rotherham.

Ms Lucas has revealed that she collated databases of alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse against children, which included the cars being used and their addresses, but that the police would not prosecute.

She said: "There were arrests and child abduction notices, so they might move off that young person, but without the prosecuting strand being strong, we could divert the person away but with the message (to the abusers) that you could get away with this, so they would move on to other young people."

South Yorkshire Police has confirmed that an investigation has been launched into these allegations and that the number of staff it has working on child exploitation cases has increased six-fold since 2013.

Expert Opinion
These allegations are extremely troubling and it is imperative a thorough and transparent investigation is carried out by South Yorkshire Police into the way allegations of child sexual exploitation were handled.

“However, the first priority should be to ensure the survivors of sexual abuse in Sheffield are given the help and support they need to overcome the physical and psychological impact of any sexual exploitation that occurred.

“It is important that lessons are quickly learned and police officers understand the severity of allegations of sexual abuse and take the appropriate steps to investigate them and bring perpetrators to justice.

“It is vital that survivors feel confident and comfortable to come forward with their allegation and know that they will be dealt with in a sensitive and appropriate manner.”
Emma Crowther, Solicitor