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Keith Vaz seeks 'emergency law' to sack South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright

OWoN: As we advised, major pressures are building to remove all incompetent staff and to prosecute thousands of guilty. It's cranking up and laws will be fast tracked to deal with them all.

Keith Vaz seeks 'emergency law' to sack South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright

Wright is resisting widespread calls for him to step down, in the wake of last month's child abuse revelations

The Guardian
By Alan Travis
and Martin Williams
9 September 2014

Keith Vaz, the home affairs select committee chairman, is to inquire about an "emergency law" to sack Shaun Wright, the embattled South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner (PCC), in the wake of last month's child abuse revelations.

MPs called Wright a charlatan and "a dead PCC walking" after he claimed he was doing a "very good job". Wright said resigning would be the easy option, after widespread calls for him to step down.

Giving evidence to the committee on Tuesday, Wright claimed he was kept out of the loop about child sexual exploitation (CSE), despite victims saying they had given him graphic accounts of their abuse.

He admitted receiving a report in 2007 that outlined 100 exploitation cases, but said he didn't realise the scale of abuse until 2010, saying: "I don't recall one single external report from Ofsted or any other organisation that flagged CSE as being a significant issue.

"Over that period of time not one member of the public came to a surgery of mine, not one local councillor asked me a question, either in my political group or in full council, not one local MP in Rotherham raised the issue or a case of CSE for those five years." Vaz told him: "We don't accept any of that."

Labour MP Paul Flynn said he was ashamed to share a political party with Wright, describing him as "the least credible witness I've ever come across".

Wright also claimed he has had a similar number of messages of support as he has had calls for his resignation.

He added: "I have done nothing but reflect on my position and I have determined that the best that I can do for victims past, present and potentially future is to stay in my role and see through the work that I have set in train."

Vaz said he is writing to the home secretary, Theresa May, to call for emergency legislation to allow PCCs to be ousted, and called on Wright to quit.

"I will be writing to the home secretary to ask her to look at the legislation on PCCs … to see if there can be a possibility of emergency legislation or an amendment to deal with a situation such as yours because it is unsatisfactory in our view that someone should be able to say to the public who elected them: 'I'm just carrying on', no matter the stacks of evidence that we have heard that calls into question your evidence to us today, which we find entirely unconvincing."

The committee also heard that a Home Office researcher who uncovered the scale of child sex abuse in Rotherham more than 10 years ago was left in fear of her life after being visited by two South Yorkshire police officers.

Meeting in a secret session to protect the identity of the researcher, MPs were told an office break-in followed the contact from the South Yorkshire officers and her files went missing.

When the MPs put the allegation to the former South Yorkshire chief constable, Meredydd John Hughes, who was deputy head of the force at the time, he said he knew nothing of the Home Office research report and told the committee he had had no idea of the scale and scope of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The committee took the highly unusual step of taking the evidence from witnesses on oath.

A devastating official inquiry report last month found that at least 1,400 young people in Rotherham had been subjected to sexual abuse over a period of 16 years.

Hughes, who was first deputy chief constable and then chief constable of South Yorkshire police for nine years until October 2011, told MPs he felt he had "singularly failed the victims" in Rotherham.

"I am not an idle man … some of the reports … I frankly felt sick last night when I read them. I am not immune to the ideas that this is a hideous crime and I am deeply embarrassed. 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 organised crime."

He later told committee chairman, Keith Vaz: "I take no pleasure from this. I have had a 32-year police career, and yet on this issue I have signally failed the victims of these criminals and it hurts. It is something that I loathe."

He strenuously denied suggestions from MPs on the committee that he had been grossly incompetent or had been involved in a dereliction of duty, but added: "I do have questions to ask myself. I look on with a sense of horror … I wish I had done more."

But Vaz bluntly told Hughes that he found his evidence "totally unconvincing" and said while his contrition was welcome it needed to go further and his evidence would be referred to the Woolf inquiry into child sexual exploitation.

The Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood said the committee had heard evidence in private from the Home Office researcher that her 2002 report had been greeted with hostility by South Yorkshire police. She said they had heard evidence that the researcher had been contacted by two officers who threatened to pass her name to the groomers in Rotherham and she had been left in fear of her life.

The Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert suggested to the current South Yorkshire chief constable, David Crompton, that there had been an active conspiracy involving police officers and questioned how the public could now trust South Yorkshire police.

Crompton said: "I'm absolutely committed to getting to the bottom of it. If there are any disciplinary matters, and some of these are being raised with me for the first time today, you have my absolute commitment we'll get to the bottom of it." Crompton said the police watchdog was looking into the conduct of police officers in the case of a 12-year-old sexual abuse victim who was arrested for being drunk when she was found in a derelict house with a group of men.

Rotherham council chief executive, Martin Kimber, explained his decision, announced on Monday, to stand down in December from the £160,000-a-year post he has held since 2009. "I was horrified at the scale of sexual abuse uncovered across Rotherham and I feel terribly sorry for all of the victims and all of their families," Kimber told the committee.

"I asked myself whether I felt I could do any more. I accept my share of responsibility.

"I felt that in the context of Rotherham people, the town has been badly, badly shaken by this and it would be far easier for the town to come out of the grieving process and begin healing if it has visible new leadership." Kimber said he had not yet decided whether he would take the pension to which he is entitled from Rotherham council.



  1. Rotherham abuse reports 'missing from archive'

    You couldn't make this sh*t up how many missing files we got now John ?
    anyone counting

    1. There are copies and anyone trying this will do time for obstruction plus more.
      Them MPs report -Up.that's all I can tell you. Work it out.
      And you dont want to feel what comes down if they dont perform as told
      This is a major exercise. Its only starting. .


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