South Yorkshire Police were twice warned about the widespread sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham more than a decade ago but ignored the claims because many of the victims were seen as little more than prostitutes, it has emerged.
Fresh evidence has emerged of the extent to which the authorities knew that gangs were grooming and abusing girls.
At least two reports, the first in 2003 and then three years later in 2006, warned that the problem was getting out of control with gangs of mainly Pakistani men targeting young vulnerable girls.
But nothing was done by the authorities because the victims were discounted by the police and social workers and were regarded as little more than prostitutes, according to Alan Billings, the local Police Crime Commissioner.
“Officer, those kids over there are child prostitutes!”
“Yes, that’s OK sir, they’re child prostitutes!”