18 UK police forces are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission over 187 complaints related to child sexual exploitation cases. The IPCC says some of the complaints involve what it considers to be ″high-level corruption″.
More than a quarter of the complaints relate to South Yorkshire Police over its failing of young people in Rotherham between 1997 and 2014. The 2014 Jay Report into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham found police had repeatedly disbelieved young people and in many cases arrested young girls found with much older men for being “drunk and disorderly″.
The allegations against South Yorkshire Police range from failing to investigate cases properly to corrupt relationships between police and offenders. Allegations against the Metropolitan Police account for 46 of the investigations; a separate investigation by Her Majesty′s Inspectorate of Constabulary examining a sample of 384 CSE cases and found 75% revealed serious police errors.
Many of the allegations follow the same pattern — of police investigations being shut down prematurely or prosecutions not pursued because the suspects were politicians, or well known; or of evidence being suppressed, not taken seriously and discarded. Out of the 27 investigations into complaints that have concluded 15 officers face disciplinary action. No criminal prosecutions have been made. These complaints may be just be the tip of the iceberg.
The forces with the most complaints against them are those where recent high profile cases have uncovered an underlying problem — South Yorkshire and the Metropolitan. How much is as yet uncovered? There is no reason to believe these police forces are unique.