Rotherham abuse gangs: NCA to halt ‘new investigations’ from 2024

Rotherham council

Rotherham abuse gangs: NCA to halt ‘new investigations’ from 2024

Lynne Cameron
Charlie Peters

By Charlie Peters

Published: 28/11/2023

- 00:01

The agency says it remains committed to seeing out current probes into rape gang abusers from South Yorkshire town

The UK’s largest ever investigation into child abuse will not launch any new investigations from 2024, the National Crime Agency has said.

Operation Stovewood, which the NCA launched in 2014 after shocking revelations about rape gangs in Rotherham, has been investigating non-familial child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town from 1997 to 2013.

A national inquiry by Prof. Alexis Jay found over 1,400 victims in Rotherham from 1997 to 2013. The NCA has since revised that figure to over 1,500.

Since 2014, NCA officers have made more than 200 arrests and secured 26 convictions, with more than 50 active investigations ongoing.

WATCH HERE: Missing Rotherham files

But Rotherham abuse victim Elizabeth, not her real name, told this broadcaster that she feared that this “isn’t going to end well.”

She added: “I hope for the sake of every victim and their families that South Yorkshire Police are really up to the job.”

Jayne Senior, the whistleblower who exposed the scandal in Rotherham, told GB News: “Myself and my charity have had a really positive relationship with the National Crime Agency. It’s difficult to know how things will look with South Yorkshire Police taking over because we’ve never had any contact with their child sexual exploitation team, we don’t know what their operations and investigations will look like.”

Senior added: “We really hope that they are as victim-focused, transparent and hard-working as the NCA officers have been.”

Rotherham grooming gang leader admits to raping girl aged 13Rotherham grooming gang leader admits to raping girl aged 13NCA

NCA Stovewood Head of Investigations Philip Marshall said that the force was not “walking away”:

“During the course of the last nine years we have identified more than 1,100 victims and made contact with as many of those as possible.

“Some, for reasons that are entirely understandable, have decided not to engage with us. We respect their decisions.

“We are now confident that we have done all we realistically can to identify those individuals who may have been victims during the Stovewood time period.

A grooming gang victim speaking with GB NewsRotherham survivor shocked by insecurity of ‘sensitive files’ from sex abuse scandalGB News

“As a result, from the start of 2024, the NCA will no longer open any new investigations, and any new allegations will be investigated by South Yorkshire Police.

“This does not mean we are walking away. We will continue to investigate in the cases we have already opened, and victims should know we will continue to treat them as a priority.

“We remain determined to seek justice for as many victims as possible and we will continue to work with partners including the CPS to bring as many offenders to justice as we can.

“Both the NCA and South Yorkshire Police are determined this process should be as seamless as possible, and we’re confident that should anyone new come forward after 1st January they will still be supported in exactly the same way.”

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