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Rotherham Council Revokes Taxi Licenses After Two Men Arrested On Suspicion of Historic Sex Abuse

Rotherham Council has revoked the taxi licenses of two men after they were arrested for questioning over historic child sex offences.

The men, aged 36 and 37, were detained on suspicion of allegedly committing sexual offences against underage girls between 1990 and 2001.

They were held in police custody and questioned by detectives but have since been released on bail.

South Yorkshire Police said that three men, aged 35, 38 and 39 were arrested in the Goole area in November as part of the same investigation and remain on police bail.

The scandal surrounding Rotherham and the Child Sexual Exploitation which took place between 1997 and 2013 involved rogue cab drivers paid by the local authority who were used to ferry vulnerable young girls from care homes and also drove them to premises where they would be sexually exploited.

More than 20 of the drivers were blacklisted and reported by worried youth workers, who claim police and local authority bosses refused to act on the information.

Care managers noted the registration plates of drivers, who preyed on girls as they were transported between residential care and official meetings with council officers and probation officials.

One whistle blower, who spent 12 years working in the South Yorkshire town with girls classed as “out of control” believes the sex abuse started among taxi drivers.

In addition to transporting under-age girls to be attacked by men in fast food joints and cafes, drivers are said to have abused them in their cars.

An estimated 1,400 girls fell victim to Asian gangs, according to the Jay report released last year,  with insiders saying it was common knowledge there was a massive abuse problem in the town with married Asian taxi drivers, some as old as 70, who would pick them up and take them to various food outlets.

Rotherham Council say they “moved swiftly” to revoke the two private hire licenses after the men were arrested and that they would have a right to appeal the Council’s decision by applying to the Magistrates Court.

Karl Battersby, Strategic Director for Environment and Development Services, said: “Public safety is our prime concern and we have to react to information that we receive.

“So far this year we have taken action to prevent six people from continuing to operate as taxi drivers. We would ask that the public support us in this, and that they pass on any concerns about the taxi trade to either ourselves by ringing 382121 or South Yorkshire Police on either 101 for non emergencies of 999 in an emergency situation.

“Following consultation with both the public and the licensed trade we will shortly be introducing robust new standards for licensing drivers, vehicles and operators. The Council is determined to make sure that the public can have complete confidence in the taxi service in Rotherham.”

But prospective Parliamentary candidate Jane Collins said the decision was akin to “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.”

The UKIP candidate, who is currently leading in the constituency according to one poll, said: “This case once again highlights how the Labour-led council in Rotherham has failed to protect the public and especially children, by handing out taxi licences without adequate checks and safeguards.

“Along with the UKIP councillors in Rotherham, I have been pushing for answers into why proper checks and safeguards were not in place when issuing taxi licences, and for a total overhaul of the taxi licensing system in the town. The public must be able to have confidence that taxis in Rotherham are safe and in their local politicians ability to keep them and their children safe. Once a more robust system is in place, I would like to see all current taxi licences cancelled and for every driver to reapply under the new system.

“While I welcome these arrests, there is still a great deal of work to do in bringing the perpetrators of CSE to justice in Rotherham. While I’m encouraged by this latest development, I am not complacent and will be keeping the pressure up to bring all historic sexual predators to justice.”

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