Abuse survivors and ex-officers urged to take part in new review of South Yorkshire Police conduct

Alan Billings and Professor John Drew launch the new review in Barnsley
Alan Billings and Professor John Drew launch the new review in Barnsley

Child sexual exploitation survivors from across South Yorkshire are being urged to contribute to a new review into the conduct of South Yorkshire Police that has been launched today.

The new review by Professor John Drew, a former chief executive of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, is to examine whether the failures of the force uncovered in Rotherham happened elsewhere in the county.

It will also try to establish whether the force’s current practices are up to the right standard.

Former and current police officers are also being urged to contribute to the review, which has been ordered by police and crime commissioner Alan Billings.

It is expected the review will take around three months to complete, with the findings being made public early next year.

A new website has been launched today to allow people to get in touch with Professor Drew.

Professor Drew said: “I’m especially keen to hear from anyone, and I do mean anyone - families, survivors, victims and people within the community who have perspectives on the way in which policing has been carried out and is being carried out.

“I want to hear from anyone who has information that will affect my review.”

Dr Billings said: “I want to be certain that South Yorkshire Police has genuinely acknowledged and fully addressed non-recent, as well as present day, occurrences of child sexual exploitation.

“I want to be assured that there was nothing happening in Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley that was in any way similar to what was happening in Rotherham and to be certain that plans are in place to ensure that nothing like this can happen again.”

No details about how much the probe will cost have been revealed, but Dr Billings confirmed at a press conference today it will be funded from the South Yorkshire Police budget unless a Home Office grant can be obtained.

The review was ordered by Dr Billings in March this year after allegations were made by a former police officer that child sexual exploitation in Sheffield had been ignored by South Yorkshire Police.

Those claims followed on from the reports of Alexis Jay and Louise Casey, which separately found failings in the way Rotherham Council and the police had dealt with the abuse of at least 1,400 children in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Professor Drew said the review would hear from anyone but would concentrate on a similar period covered by Jay and Casey and up to the present day.

He is to be assisted in conducting the review by Peter Spindler, a former Metropolitan Police commander and Andrew Lockley, a former Head of Public Law at Sheffield legal firm Irwin Mitchell.

Anyone with information should visit www.drewreview.uk and fill in a contact form.