Moral cowardice, dereliction of duty, and Rotherham

Political correctness, moral cowardice and dereliction of duty. That's what caused the Rotherham scandal. Oh, but don't deal with the core issues; that violates PC pieties too. Tell that, Guardianistas, to a llittle girl who's been raped

When she needed help, no-one was there for her
Robin Mitchinson
On 2 September 2014 12:33

Now that the noisome fog of scandal is beginning to clear, some analysis is more possible. There has been an avalanche of coverage of the Rotherham affair by the chattering classes, almost all revolving around what happened but almost nothing on ‘why?’

Two elements emerge very clearly. They are moral cowardice and dereliction of duty. And forget the mealy-mothed talk of ‘child abuse, as it this was on a par with a smack on the bottom by an irate parent.

This was rape. It was planned and committed on an industrial scale. There are 1,400 known cases in a middling-size town of 250,000, no less than a third of which were girls in local authority care. How many actual cases have occurred will never be known, but the scale of it beggars belief.

Moral cowardice on a huge scale was consistently shown by the local Council, both at officer- and at member-level. Extensive child-abuse had been happening in Rotherham for at least 16 years. Dr Jay’s report implies that it continues, with 51 cases in hand as at May this year.

The Council knew perfectly well what was going on but decided to turn a blind-eye for the sake of ‘racial harmony’. There were reports in 2002,2003 and 2006 which found that Pakistani men were both exploiting young white girls and involved in  drugs and gun crimes. The first was repressed by senior officers and the other two ignored. There are suggestions that the Council wiped computer files dating back to 2002.

Staff were instructed by their managers not to mention the ethnic origin of the perpetrators. The police obtained convictions in 2010 but a group of volunteer youth workers who helped provide the evidence was squashed by Council officers who even raided its offices, on what legal grounds is unclear.

The Asian population of Rotherham is a mere 3 percent, so it can scarcely said that it has an ‘ethnic minority’ problem on anything  like the scale of , say, Bradford. ‘Bradistan’ has 22 percent.

The root of the problem appears to be that the majority of ancestral Pakistanis come from very impoverished areas such as Mirpur in Kashmir. The Mirpuri are despised by other Pakistanis. They cling to biraderi, loyalty to the clan above all else, so refusal to integrate comes as no surprise. Arranged --  and sometimes forced --  marriages are usual, and 60 percent are married to first cousins, which in itself causes major in-breeding problems such as serious birth defects.

Honour killings are not unknown. It is commonplace for at least one parent to speak no English. They have little tradition of education beyond the madrassa, and Mirpuri children are at the bottom of the education league table whereas most Asians do extremely well at school. Not surprisingly they are also at the bottom of the heap economically.

The consequence is that too many Mirpuri youth have no moral compass, alienated from their roots in Pakistan and from wider society at home. Three of the 7/7 bombers were Mirpuri.

The leader of the Council has fallen on his sword. No other leading personality has been affected. What role was taken by the Chief Executive? His neighbour in Rochdale, faced with similar circumstances, suspended five social workers and started action against eight former staff. By the end of the year a number of senior officers had departed.

As far as we know, the Rotherham CEO commissioned yet another report but what he actually did to deal with the situation goes unreported.

Dereliction of duty is the charge that can be levelled against the police.           

The report cites the case of a police raid on a house where they discovered a young girl and several men. They ignored the men and arrested the girl for being drunk and disorderly. When fathers tried to remove their daughters from a house where they were being sexually exploited, they were arrested.

No action was taken when a 999 call from parents reported that their 13-year old daughter had been accosted by a taxi-driver who had once been arrested for kidnapping. Complaints seem to have been routinely ignored, the prevailing police attitude being ‘no better than she should be’ notwithstanding that these were vulnerable girls as young as 11,scarcely more than children

It is almost impossible to believe that the South Yorkshire Police retains a single iota of public confidence after Hillsborough, the Cliff Richard fiasco, and now this mother of all scandals. How the elected Commissioner has the chutzpah to remain in office, having also been responsible for child welfare as a Councillor, beggars belief, and the future of the Chief Constable must be in serious doubt.

It is a reasonable prediction that there is more, much more, to come. There is question that needs an answer. Will the same massive police resources be deployed as in Operation Yewtree?

In the unlikely event that this happens, the further question is which police force will carry it out. Not the South Yorkshire Police, which is now discredited and unfit for purpose.

Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world

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