A detective avoided being fired despite admitting gross misconduct related to a Child Sexual Exploitation Investigation (CSE) in Rotherham after a disciplinary committee said he should not be personally responsible for the “systemic failures” of the company South Yorkshire Police to be held accountable.
DC Ian Hampshire admitted that he had failed to properly investigate a girl’s allegations that she was raped by several men in the city in 2007 at the start of a two-day police hearing in Sheffield.
On Tuesday, a disciplinary body ruled that Dc Hampshire should receive a final written warning instead of being fired after hearing that his behavior regarding the girl was part of a far wider failure by the South Yorkshire Police to deal with sexual exploitation Children in Rotherham deal the time.
Panel chairman Simon Mallett said, “It would be wrong for this panel and it would be wrong for this officer to hold him personally responsible for the force’s systemic failures.”
Dc Hampshire, who has been on duty for 23 years, is believed to be the first officer to face a disciplinary hearing following the Rotherham CSE scandal.
In 2014, the Jay Report shocked the nation when it detailed how at least 1,400 children were raped, trafficked and ill-treated by gangs of men of mainly Pakistani heritage in the city between 1997 and 2013.
The report criticized the lack of action by police and social workers and sparked a wave of resignations and further investigations.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched Operation Linden into Police Conduct in connection with the scandal – the organization’s second largest investigation after the Hillsborough disaster investigation – but that report has not yet been made public.
The hearing heard that the girl, who was around 16 at the time, made a series of rape complaints with other officers during a police interview in May 2007.
However, the allegations against Dc Hampshire were related to other allegations she made after he took her case on.
This included allegations that she was raped by a number of men the night before she was due to be interviewed by DC Hampshire and another detective about other alleged incidents.
She announced that beverages had been placed on her and taken to various addresses before she woke up with a man in a Rotherham park.
It was heard at the hearing that DC Hampshire took “good, positive first steps” by taking the girl on a forensic examination and driving around to see if she remembered where the recent attacks took place.
But he admitted that he later failed to continue the investigation and keep the teen up on what was going on.
Ed Pleeth, who brought the case against the officer at the hearing, said the detective “did not take basic steps that should have been immediately obvious to any police officer”.
Jason Pitter QC of DC Hampshire argued that the mistakes his client admitted regarding the girl “must be considered in the context of systemic errors within the South Yorkshire Police at the relevant time”.
He said DC Hampshire was a budding detective in 2007, working in an atmosphere of high workload and poor supervision.
Mr Pitter said his client had an exemplary record over the past 14 years, including recognition for another high-profile and complex investigation into dealing with child victims.
The attorney said there was a mindset among the force at the time that viewed complainants like the girl as inappropriate relationships with friends who showered them with gifts. He said this was “a failing culture with regard to this type of crime”.
Mr Mallett said the panel concluded that the girl’s complaints “were not handled with the seriousness it should have been”.
He said the South Yorkshire Police’s failures regarding CSE in Rotherham at the time were “public knowledge”.
He added that the panel accepted that Dc Hampshire was working in a unit with “bad culture”, creaky workloads and very limited supervision for junior officers.
He said this “affected the behavior of all officers in the unit” and the detective was “an officer in a unit who seriously failed to protect the most vulnerable,” which was a matter of “enormous public concern.”
The Chairman said that the leaders and supervisors of DC Hampshire “bore far more responsibility” than he did for these general shortcomings.
He also accepted glowing references filed on behalf of the officer that described him as hardworking, hardworking, professional, reliable, and with a “close affinity for the victims.”
A restriction preventing reporting of the hearing was lifted Tuesday.
South Yorkshire Assistant Police Chief Constable Lauren Poultney said: “The actions of DC Hampshire in 2007 fell well short of what the public should expect of a police officer.
“Since the Jay Report findings that led to this investigation, the force has made great strides in understanding and investigating CSE to ensure that victims of sexual offenses can trust the South Yorkshire Police when they are Feel able to sound the alarm Officers are ready to answer.
“Over the past few years we have given all of our executives, partner agencies, and companies extensive training on where there may be ways to identify and act.
“We have restructured our teams to reflect demand and to ensure that the technical officers are well placed to address problems that arise.
“We have also worked with partner agencies to ensure that appropriate reporting mechanisms are in place and that anyone who reports a sexual offense is supported with compassion and professionalism.”