Officials in the Pakistani child rape gang scandal town of Rotherham are moving to ban protests against their own incompetence. They have appealed to the home secretary for emergency special powers under the Public Order Act 1986.
The council first came to national prominence when its social services worked together with elements of the police to spectacularly fail to detect the systematic grooming, rape and prostitution of over 1,400 vulnerable children. The victims were often in the care of the council children’s services and “as young as 12”, and “barely pubescent”. Council commissioners claim the protests against them are becoming prohibitively expensive to police, with one event in September 2014 costing over one million pounds, meaning they should therefore be banned, reports local newspaper The Star.
Commissioner Mary Ney, who was appointed by the government as part of a group of five professionals who took over running the town in February to replace the failed former council, acknowledged that the £2 million extra spent on policing operations was covered by Home Office spending in her letter. Writing to the Home Secretary Theresa May, commissioner complained it was the protests, rather than the problem the town has with child rape that was causing reputational damage: She wrote:
“Over an extended period, the town has been subject to a significant number of events by right-wing groups, and counter demonstrations by left wing groups.
“This has, and continues to, consume a vast amount of police resource, both within and outside South Yorkshire, at significant cost to the public purse. However, more significant is the damage to the reputation of the town, and the impact that this has had on the town centre in particular, which has been the focus of these events.
“Due to their regularity there is a real perception amongst people using the town that it is not safe, and that there are protests every Saturday… The town needs to move on and further events will be damaging both to community cohesion, and the ability of the town to recover”.
Despite insisting it was time for the town to forget child abuse and move on, The Star also reports today a further four men were arrested this weekend for ‘abduction and grooming’.