Police Dealing with Less than 20% of Rotherham’s 1,523 Grooming Gang Victims

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 …
Christopher Furlong/Getty

Less than 20 percent of the identified 1,523 known victims of historic grooming and rape in Rotherham have been engaged by police.

After a jury at Sheffield Crown Court found seven men, six Pakistani-heritage, one of Yemeni-heritage, guilting of the historic sexual abuse of five vulnerable underaged girls in the Yorkshire town, the National Crime Agency, likened to the U.S.’s FBI, also announced that Operation Stovewood has resulted in just 14 successful prosecutions.

“There are currently 22 separate investigations under the Stovewood umbrella, with 147 suspects identified and more than 290 complainants engaging with officers. 24 suspects have been charged and 12 have been arrested (or attended a police station voluntarily) and bailed or released under investigation,” the NCA said.

There are also 275 other people also under investigation, with the majority of the some-400 individuals being investigated still living in Rotherham, reports The Metro.

Of the survivors of exploitation in the town, 296 — all female — are actively engaged with police officers, representing just 19 percent of the total identified, and not including any who are yet to come forward. The original figure identified by the Jay Report — 1,400 — was revised upward by more than one hundred last year, alone.

Launched in 2014 on the back of the Jay Report — which uncovered a culture of political correctness and failings by police and social services when dealing with complaints of mainly white, working-class girls who accused Pakistani-origin Muslim gangs of systematic rape in Rotherham between 1993 and 2013 — the NCA’s Operation Stovewood was tasked with prosecuting the historic rape cases.

The country’s largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual exploitation (CSE), Operation Stovewood is set to cost in the region of £100 million, has 250 staff, and is scheduled to be completed by 2024, though is not anticipated to be completed by that time.

Paul Williamson, the head of Operation Stovewood, told The Times Tuesday that the scale of the investigation was daunting. Mr Williamson had remarked more than eight months ago that the operation, funded substantially by the Home Office, needed 100 more officers and that police were only able to contact 17 percent of suspected victims because of a shortage of specially trained investigators.

However, Operation Stovewood is currently only focused on historic abuse in Rotherham — the national debate on mostly white, working-class girls being groomed by Pakistani-Muslims was sparked by the 2012 prosecution of nine men in Rochdale, where a whistleblower police officer alleged offenders identified during the original investigation are still at large.

Other grooming gangs have been uncovered in towns such as Oxford, Newcastle, and Huddersfield, with an investigation by The Mirror revealing earlier this year that up to 1,000 girls may have been abused in the small city of Telford over a period of 40 years, making it potentially the worst grooming gang scandal in UK history.


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