Number of Rotherham Rape Gang Victims Rises to 1,500, Officers Expand Operation

A teenage girl, who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse and alleged grooming, poses in Rotherham on September 3, 2014 in Rotherham, England. South Yorkshire Police have launched an independent investigation into its handling of the Rotherham child abuse scandal and will also probe the role of public …
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The number of victims of Rotherham grooming and rape gangs has risen even higher than the 1,400 figure which shocked the nation in 2014, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has revealed.

The revelations come as millions of pounds continue to be pumped into an independent review of the mass sex crimes in the town, with hundreds of officers still expanding their work on the scandal.

The 2014 report by Professor Alexis Jay exposed how largely Pakistani-heritage, Muslim men had systematically exploited 1,400 mostly white girls in the northern town between 1997 and 2013, whose abuse was largely ignored by authorities due to political correctness.

Now, the NCA independent inquiry has found that the number of victims over the same time period is more like 1,510. At least 1,300 of them female, they added.

The organisation’s senior investigating officer for the operation, Paul Williamson, revealed his team has a £6.9 million annual budget and is hoping to expand its ranks to between 200 and 250 officers to deal with the size of the rape gang phenomenon.

They are currently actively engaged with more than 260 victims, have identified 110 “designated suspects”, and have 144 officers working on 34 distinct investigations.

The first grooming gang convictions in Rotherham were made in early 2016, with court cases continuing throughout last year.

Meanwhile, local Muslim groups have won extra influence in local government after threatening to “boycott” police and any business that works with them, claiming they are being “scapegoated” as a group.

“We will not falter in our commitment as an agency to this task,” Mr. Williamson told Associated Press. “The identification and bringing to justice of offenders is what we’ll be judged on.”

He said the “momentum and pace” of the investigation is increasing, whilst also insisting that progress is likely to be slow because many victims are vulnerable.

“That momentum and pace will increase and that is commensurate with the resources that are put into the investigation,” he added.

“I now have 144 which enables me to do a lot more than what I could do when I first started as SIO [Senior Investigating Officer] in January 2016. Justice, we are now seeing, is being rendered.

“And I’ve got a very, very committed team which is pursuing a very, very, worthy mission.”

(AP contributed to this report)


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