18 December 2014
Officers from the National Crime Agency have begun operating in South Yorkshire to deliver the first stage of an independent investigation into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham, requested by South Yorkshire Chief Constable David Crompton.
The officer in overall charge of the NCA investigation, NCA Director Trevor Pearce, said Operation Stovewood will have two distinct stages in order to successfully deliver all matters within its terms of reference.
“The first stage of Operation Stovewood will identify and examine relevant material held by South Yorkshire Police and other bodies in order to scope the nature, scale and requirements of an investigation into child sexual exploitation identified by the Alexis Jay Report.
“We will also oversee a review of all current relevant investigations being carried out by South Yorkshire Police into non-familial CSE in Rotherham, between 1997 and 2013, identifying any opportunities for early intervention to prevent further harm and to identify and arrest suspects.”
At the same time as completing this intelligence gathering and review activity, we will progress the establishment of a full investigation team and vital partnership working arrangements to encourage further victims and witnesses to come forward and ensure they receive appropriate support if they do.
Trevor Pearce said it was important that intelligence gathering and review activity takes place before a new fully independent investigation begins in spring 2015. He urged people to continue to provide information to specialist officers and investigators in South Yorkshire Police.
“We anticipate that stage one of our work will be completed by spring 2015. Until then anyone with information about current threats to children in South Yorkshire, matters currently being investigated by detectives in South Yorkshire, or in relation to non-recent allegations of CSE, should continue to contact South Yorkshire Police.
“After our initial work is complete, Operation Stovewood will be seeking information directly from the public and anyone else who can assist.”
David Crompton, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police said:
“All officers and staff in South Yorkshire will provide full support to the NCA in order that the independent investigation I have asked for can be taken forward efficiently and effectively. I welcome the additional capabilities, resources and independence that the NCA brings to drive forward enquiries into criminal matters raised in Alexis Jay’s report.
“The force has already referred 13 officers to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), who have confirmed they will investigate the conduct of ten of them. We remain absolutely committed to assisting them with their separate independent investigation in to any alleged misconduct.”
Anyone with information about child sexual exploitation or abuse in Rotherham should call 101 from within South Yorkshire or 0114 219 6985 from elsewhere in the country.