UK & World News
Rotherham Abuse: Pressure Grows On Police Chief
Pressure is growing on South Yorkshire's Police Commissioner to resign in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal, after it emerged he was once a councillor with responsibility for children's services there.
A damning report has revealed more than 1,400 children were victims of abuse there between 1997 and 2013.
It detailed examples of 11-year-olds being gang raped and children being forced to watch violent sex abuse while being threatened that they would be next.
It has emerged authorities in the town "could and should" have done more to stop the abuse but did not listen to children trying to report it.
In some cases victims were treated with contempt.
Shaun Wright was a Labour councillor for Rotherham until he was elected Police Commissioner in 2012, and was in charge of children's services from 2005 to 2010.
He told Sky News he was "completely astonished" as the abuse in Rotherham, but claimed he had been unaware of scale of the problem.
If he had been aware more action would have been taken.
But Colin Ross, the leader of the Lib Dem group on Sheffield City Council, said it is "difficult to see how local people can have confidence in him to continue as our Police and Crime Commissioner".
Tory Yorkshire and Humber MEP Timothy Kirkhope tweeted: "Labour has presided over terrible cruelty and neglect of children in Sth Yorkshire. They cannot avoid blame and many individuals must go!"
The leader of Rotherham Council, Roger Stone, stepped down with immediate effect following the publication of the report.
The council has apologised for its failings but confirmed no staff will face disciplinary action.
South Yorkshire Police also issued an apology but it too revealed that no officers have been disciplined.
Several of the individuals named in the report are still working in child protection.
Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, police district commander for Rotherham, said no officers had faced disciplinary action but added: "A number of individuals that were in the service then are no longer in the service.
"Clearly we have failed on this occasion. We know that but we need to understand understand what we need to do next."
"If people have done things they shouldn't have done they should be held to account."
Jim Gamble, former Chief Executive of CEOP, told Sky News: "Every person particularly in a leadership role who has got it wrong whether today, yesterday, or in the years before must take responsibility for their actions.
"There's a couple of things, you need to make sure; 1) that they're not in a position of authority in any other local safeguarding board, in any other organisation that works to protect children and 2) if there is evidence that individuals supressed information that there's a criminal investigation."
A lawyer who represents some of the victims has told Sky News they intend to take legal action against the authorities.
Solicitor David Greenwood said he was "appalled" by what he called a "systematic failure".
He added that some of the girls involved have displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and will need "a lot of input to get their lives back on track".