Rotherham abuse and our celebrity-obsessed police

Over the Rotherham abuse scandal there have been no arrests of the perpetrators. Neither has any action been instituted against anyone for misconduct in a public office. Could it be that this is seen in police circles as being of less interest than celebrity cases like Yewtree?

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South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright has finally quit
Robin_mitchinson
Robin Mitchinson
On 17 September 2014 09:00

At last! The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire has quit. He was last seen being rushed out of an angry public meeting and driven off in a police car at high speed that was reminiscent of Starsky and Hutch.

Better late than never, although as far as I can see he must be either arrogant or stupid not to realise that his position had become totally untenable on the day the Rotherham abuse report was published. If he had gone immediately, as did the Leader of the Council, he would have retained a measure of public respect.

Under-reported was the news that the Chief Executive had fallen on his sword. He has done the proper thing and he deserves a measure of sympathy for having inherited a mess that pre-existed his appointment by many years. His fault was that he did not get a grip of it.

His opposite number at Rochdale inherited a similar situation, if much smaller. He acted quickly and a number of staff were required to continue their careers elsewhere. I suspect he was out of his depth. He was previously a Planner, so it is unlikely that he would have had much exposure to the vicious, back-stabbing politics that prevail in the Leader’s Office, at party group meetings and elsewhere behind the closed doors of the Town Hall.

So where does this leave the Chief Constable?

The Chief Constable of Wiltshire is facing an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation over mishandling of abuse cases over a period of about two years, not the 17 years and three inquiry reports at Rotherham.

And it does seem remarkable that despite the time lapse since these outrages came to light, there have been no arrests of the perpetrators. Neither has any action been instituted against anyone for misconduct in a public office. Could it be that this is seen in police circles as being of less interest than Yewtree?

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) continues its persecution of Dave Lee Travis, having lost the first round with 12 of 14 counts thrown out and the jury failing to agree on the remaining two. Common sense says that the CPS should have called it a day, but there is little sign of that characteristic in those circles.

His alleged offences were against adults, and consist largely of ‘inappropriate touching’ above the clothing, whatever that means. Not that any abusive behaviour is ever acceptable, but compared with Rotherham If that is a serious offence then, in the words of Dr Heinz Kiosk, ‘We are all guilty’.

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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