More than 160 child sexual exploitation suspects investigated in Rotherham

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Police have investigated more than 160 child sexual exploitation suspects in Rotherham - with 32 assessed as ‘high risk’ potential offenders.

A new report going to Rotherham Council’s cabinet tomorrow, Wednesday, has revealed new details about the ongoing attempts to catch abusers in the town in the wake of the Jay report.

The report said 167 individuals have been assessed under new exploitation suspect risk assessment and disruption plans.

It said: “The details of high risk individuals are shared across the force along with the relevant intelligence requirements. The Offender Management Unit has ownership of these suspects and will oversee further direction and disruption plans for them.”

The report added there are currently six separate investigations relating to child abuse taking place, with one - Operation Clover - involving a ‘significant potential number of victims’ abused in the early 2000s. Three men have been arrested in connection with that operation and are currently on bail.

It said 63 offenders, including suspects, have been named in recorded crime reports in relation to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham in the past 12 months.

Two women were among the potential offenders, with 42 of them white.

The report stated 15 of the suspected abusers were Asian, with three from a Middle Eastern background and three of unknown ethnicity.

Figures also showed an increase in the number of victims being dealt with by social care services.

The report show there has been an 18 per cent increase in the number of child sexual exploitation cases being referred to children’s social care services in the past three months.

Social workers had been dealing with concerns about 79 young people between June and September, while the council’s specialist child sexual exploitation team has been put in charge of leading 73 social care cases - a 55 per cent increase since June.

The specialist team are also supporting other social workers with 18 other cases where children are at risk of abuse.

The report, jointly written by Jane Parfrement, acting strategic director of Children and Young People’s Services and Jason Harwin, chief superintendent and Rotherham district commander for South Yorkshire Police, said the publication of the Jay report in August may have resulted ‘increased awareness’ of the problem, leading to the higher workload.

The number of Rotherham children going missing has also increased from 114 to 134, although the number of incidents of children running away repeatedly has fallen.

It comes after it was revealed last week the council is facing a £4m overspend on its children’s service budget this year - largely as a result of more vulnerable children than expected being moved away from the town to out-of-area care placements, often to protect them from abusers.

The report said the increase in cases has resulted in an extra police sergeant and five more officers being assigned to the child sexual exploitation team, while a new safeguarding officer is being recruited by the council.