A woman whose sexual exploitation as a child was ignored by police over fears of increasing racial tensions in Rotherham has said the force ‘aided and abetted’ the abuse of hundreds of children.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) upheld six complaints against South Yorkshire Police by a woman abused as a child for several years, starting in 2003.
According to a leaked report seen by PA and first reported by The Times, the watchdog said it was ‘very clear that you were sexually exploited by Asian men’ and found police were aware of suspects but ‘took insufficient action to prevent you from harm’.
The horrific crimes of Asian grooming gangs were laid bare in a 2018 trial when six men were jailed for a total 101 years after sexually exploiting five vulnerable teenage girls. Iqlak Yousaf (left) got a 20-year jail term. Salah Ahmed El-Hakam (right) got 15 years
One of the victims told a trial how she was made to have sex with ‘at least 100 Asian men’. Asif Ali and Tanweer Ali (right) got terms of terms of 10 years and 14 years respectively
Nabeel Kurshid and Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar (right) are among a sex gang from Rotherham jailed for a combined 101 years this afternoon
The woman, who received the 13-page report on Wednesday after first making the complaints in 2014, said children were ‘sacrificed’ by the failings of the police.
She told the PA news agency: ‘I always thought that maybe the police didn’t understand what was happening until I got the report, and now I fully understand that they knew exactly what was going on.
‘How could they do this to hundreds and hundreds of children? How could they go home at night after doing a shift and go to sleep?
‘We were never seen as children abused, they didn’t care at all.’
She told PA her abuse began in her early teens when she was befriended by a woman, known to the police as being involved in child sexual exploitation, who introduced her to older Asian men to be groomed.
Whistleblowing former detective Maggie Oliver (pictured) has said Greater Manchester Police chiefs should face charges after a damning new report revealed they left 97 men free to groom 57 young girls by dropping their investigation into Asian grooming gangs
The woman’s mother complained that South Yorkshire Police ‘would not listen and left you in dangerous situations, letting people do what they wanted and they never questioned anybody about what was happening,’ the report said.
The IOPC upheld the complaint that the force was aware of suspects involved in her exploitation and failed to act, leaving her with people who were grooming the teenager.
The woman called for action to be taken against South Yorkshire Police, including potential criminal charges.
‘They’ve always been complicit in what happened, we’ve seen perpetrators get done, so why are they any different? They’ve aided and abetted abuse,’ she said.
In a second investigation included in the report, the woman’s father said an officer referred to grooming as ‘P*** shagging’ when he phoned the police to discuss his concerns about his daughter.
The officer, who was unable to be identified, was also found to have said ‘with it being Asians, we can’t afford for this to be coming out’ and commented that the abuse had happened for 30 years.
The woman told PA she was very upset when reading the report and said: ‘It doesn’t matter what colour a perp (perpetrator) is, they should all be treated the same.’
The investigation also found the force tried to recruit the woman as an informant while she was underage, and did not act appropriately when she was taken from emergency accommodation to Bristol, around 150 miles away, in order to be groomed.
South Yorkshire Police said it accepted the IOPC’s findings and ‘recognises the failings of its past’, adding that the unnamed chief inspector’s alleged comments were not tolerated.
However, the woman said she did not think South Yorkshire Police’s response had gone far enough, and said: ‘The only reason they’re sorry is because they’re sorry for getting caught.’
She added: ‘I want an apology to all the public in Rotherham because they’ve not only done a disservice to the victims and survivors and their families, they’ve done a disservice to all the communities as well.’
A force spokesman said: ‘It is unfortunate no individual officer has been identified by the IOPC as this is not something we tolerate in today’s force.
‘The themes within this report have been understood by South Yorkshire Police for some time, and the identified learning has already been embedded within our organisation.
‘We are not deterred from pursuing justice due to the characteristics of the offender. This is demonstrated in the many convictions we have secured in relation to CSE in recent years.’
The IOPC Operation Linden was launched in 2014 with the watchdog conducting 91 independent investigations into the allegations that senior officers failed in their statutory duty to protect children between 1999 and 2011.
PA understands that the full IOPC report into child sexual abuse in Rotherham could be published this year.
Dead at 15: Victim regularly injected with heroin by older man
Victoria Agoglia’s family have been asking for her abuse to be investigated ever since her death in Rochdale in 2003.
Victoria, who had been in care since the age of eight, disclosed two months before her death to her social worker and a substance misuse worker that an older man was injecting her with heroin, a new report into the police and council operation triggered by her death found.
‘No formal action was taken to investigate this matter or prevent it occurring again,’ the report said.
‘Within two months of this revelation, Victoria died.’
Pictured: Victoria Agoglia, who died in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, aged just 15 in 2003
Following an inquest into her death in 2007, coroner Simon Nelson, as part of a narrative verdict, said ‘no inferences can be made that the events from the 24 September [when Victoria was injected] were reasonably foreseeable’, the report said.
A review has now said it was ‘unclear’ how the coroner could have concluded that.
Victoria, who was known as Vicky and used her stepfather’s surname of Byrne, spent time in care homes across Greater Manchester.
She had ambitions of becoming a hairdresser and a model.
In the two years before her death, the report found Victoria was repeatedly ‘threatened, assaulted and returned to her residential unit intoxicated’.
Distressed, the report said she disclosed she was involved in sexual exploitation and alleged rape and sexual assault.
‘While we found evidence of multi-agency meetings, not one of these occasions resulted in a child protection investigation to protect Victoria from significant harm,’ the report added.
‘Although Victoria was cared for by Manchester City Council, a man who had been previously identified as her so-called ‘pimp’ was given permission to visit her in her accommodation three times a week.’