The jury at the Rotherham abuse trial has been told a police officer warned a victim of an alleged serial child abuser that fellow officers who witnessed what had happened would not give evidence for fear of landing themselves “in the sh*t” for not having acted at the time.
The trial of five men and two women accused of having roles in a Rotherham child grooming ring has heard that in March 2013 one of the 12 complainants, known in court as Girl J, used her mobile telephone to record secretly a conversation she had with two police officers.
The conversation, discussing the possibility of Girl J making a statement against defendant Arshid Hussain, took place between the alleged victim and police officers DC Lee Robinson and PC Diane Garner, reports the Sheffield Telegraph.
The conversation transcript showed the woman saying there should be records of a time police had found Mr. Hussain having sex with her when she was 14 years old. On the day in question she was arrested on suspicion of stealing jewellery from her family and placed in foster care.
Girl J said she could also provide names of officers who used to telephone Mr Hussain to “tell him that police were looking for me and stuff”, and asked whether police officers who had been involved with her case at the time of the abuse would have to make statements if she named them.
DC Robinson explained that it would be difficult to get statements from officers, replying:
“I can’t guarantee that as much as you’d like. If they walked in there and they saw you were having sex on the floor and they know you’re only 14 and they’ve seen this Asian male, if they put that in a statement, they know full well they’re going to get in the s*** because why didn’t they do something about that?”
The complainant then gave another reason why police officers with historic involvement in her case might not want to get involved, saying: “They know I know stuff about them what they could get sacked for.”
DC Robinson agreed it would be difficult to get such a statement, saying: “It may be that if we went to speak to that person, they might turn around and say, ‘I didn’t see anything like that’. I can’t force them to write something if they say, ‘I never saw that’.”
Although not of any help to Girl J’s case, DC Robinson suggested that were the same thing to happen today the outcome would be different, explaining: “Opinions have changed now. Now we identify that as child abuse. Before they’d see it as sort of a lovesick teenager who keeps going back to this fella.”
Prior to the latest evidence Girl J had already made allegations about police involvement with Mr. Hussain, suggesting he received a level of protection from them. Evidence from two other complainants — known as Girl L and Girl G — also alleged levels of police inactivity and even outright corruption.
Arshid Hussain and his fellow defendants Basharat Hussain, Karen MacGregor, Qurban Ali, Majid Bostan, Sajid Bostan and Shelley Davies all deny their part in historic child sexual exploitation crimes.
The trial continues.