South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has resigned following weeks of hang-wringing over the Rotherham child abuse scandal.
The embattled commissioner had been under pressure ever since a report revealed a huge level of child abuse in the town of Rotherham, some of which happened while he was in charge of the town’s children’s services.
He has until now resisted continued calls for his resignation, with a petition supported by Breitbart London calling for him to go reaching nearly 15,000 signatures.
In a statement today, Mr Wright: “My role as South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has clearly become prominent in terms of public opinion and media coverage following the publication of Professor Alexis Jay’s report.
“This is detracting from the important issue, which should be everybody’s focus – the 1400 victims outlined in the report – and in providing support to victims and bringing to justice the criminals responsible for the atrocious crimes committed against them.
“With this in mind, I feel that it is now right, to step down… for the sake of those victims, for the sake of the public of South Yorkshire and to ensure that the important issues outlined in the report about tackling child sexual exploitation can be discussed and considered in full and without distraction.”
UKIP MEP Jane Collins, who is also parliamentary candidate for Rotherham, has called for Wright to now face legal action over his failure to protect children.
“This man should be prosecuted for his many failures to act to protect children, while serving as cabinet member for child services on Rotherham MBC,” she said.
“It is disgusting that he has waited this long to resign. The audacity of those involved in the numerous grave failings of Rotherham Council and Child Protection Services is appalling. Do they still not accept or understand the severity of the consequences of their wilful inaction?
“I can only hope that now Wright has gone, others directly involved in covering up these horrific crimes will also resign from their highly paid, public funded positions and permit investigation into how this entire sorry affair was able to go unchecked for so many years.
“Joyce Thacker, Strategic Director of Children’s Services in Rotherham should certainly be considering her position today, as should every single one of the town’s councillors present when the issue of child sexual exploitation was discussed in graphic detail at a council meeting in 2005.”