MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – The former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police confessed that he had no idea of the scale of child abuse in the town of Rotherham and said he was embarassed at his failure to prevent it , The Independent reported.
“I am not immune to the idea that this is a hideous crime and I am deeply embarrassed,” The Independent quoted Meredydd Hughes as saying on Tuesday. “But I can say with honesty that at the time that I was both deputy and chief constable, I had no idea of the scale and scope of this type of organized crime.”
“I am distressed that nobody told me at the time. I did not run that police force with a culture where those who bring bad news and speak truth to power are treated badly,” he added.
An independent inquiry into historical cases of child sexual exploitation was commissioned by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in October 2013. The inquiry highlighted serious failings of local agencies involved in protecting children and young people. It emerged that councilors, police and social services turned a blind eye to the abuse of at least 1,400 children during the period 1997 - 2013. A series of reports brought to light problems from 2002 that were either ignored or suppressed by senior council staff and police.
Meredydd Hughes served as chief constable from 2004 to 2011 and sought to become the first police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire, but was beaten in the selection process by the current incumbent Shaun Wright.
Following the publication of the report Shaun Wright, who was in charge of children’s services in the town for five years before taking up his current post, has refused to step down despite significant public pressure. The Independent reported Hughes as saying he would have stepped down from the post had he been selected.