Victims of Pakistani paedophile gangs in Rotherham are calling for local council bosses to be stripped of their OBEs after they failed to protect around two thousand young girls. The call was made via the solicitor for forty of the victims, David Greenwood.
For years reports of abuse were ignored by social services and the police, the latter were said to regard the victims as “little slags”. Despite this failure both the former council leader Roger Stone and ex-children’s services Joyce Thacker were awarded OBEs and whilst education boss Diane Billups got an MBE.
Mr Greenwood told the Daily Mail: “They [the officials] have been shown in evidence-based reports to have been asleep on the job. It undermines the integrity of the system if these people retain their awards. They should be forced to give them up.” One of the victims, known as Jessica, echoed his words saying: “It is ridiculous that these people still have their honours. How can they keep them when they let 2,000 girls down.”
The awards are given out to individuals who have “made achievements in public life” or “committed themselves to serving and helping Britain”. They can be removed from recipients under certain circumstances, once with a forfeiture committee making a recommendation to HM The Queen. The most recent example being Rolf Harris who was stripped of his CBE last week.
Calls for Stone, Thacker and Billups to lose their awards received cross-party support. Labour MP Simon Danczuk said: “It brings shame on the honours system if these awards are not removed. If these people have any decency, they will give back their honours. These people have badly let down vulnerable young girls and turned a blind eye to the most horrendous abuse.”
UKIP Rotherham posted on their Facebook page: “Over the last month we’ve had a lot of people dropping into the shop who have expressed strong opinions about Roger Stone’s OBE. Everyone who has been in the shop has expressed the view that they’re not sure why he was given an OBE in the first place and in the light of the reports of Professor Jay and Louise Casey she should be stripped of it.”
The former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, Meredydd Hughes, has also been attacked as he received a CBE in the 2012 New Year Honours list. He already held the Queen’s Police Medal.