John urges start of criminal investigation into CSE failings

John Healey is pressing for the start of a criminal investigation into police and council failings over child sexual exploitation.

Last month the three Rotherham MPs wrote to the South Yorkshire Chief Constable demanding answers about prosecutions and inquiries already announced.

Mr Healey, Sarah Champion and Kevin Barron also asked for the inquiry into South Yorkshire Police’s past failings to be overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission or National Crime Agency.

They said in the letter: “If there is any belief that South Yorkshire Police is setting the terms of the inquiry into itself, then it will command much less public confidence. Will you therefore consider making sure the IPCC or the NCA have oversight of this inquiry at every stage, including in setting its remit and setting it up?”

Now assistant chief constable Ingrid Lee has confirmed in her reply that the inquiry into failings revealed in the Jay report “will be looking at criminal matters involving postholders from a number of organisations, including South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Borough Council.” It will be overseen by the National Crime Agency and – for issues of police misconduct – the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Replying to Ms Lee today, Mr Healey said: “This inquiry must be established as soon as possible. I ask that you make doing so a priority and would be grateful for your confirmation of the inquiry’s start date, panel and terms of reference.”