Rotherham abuse scandal: ex-police chief resigns from children’s hospital

Meredydd Hughes, who told MPs he was ignorant of child grooming in Rotherham, resigns from Sheffield hospital role
Meredydd Hughes
Meredydd Hughes was chief constable of South Yorkshire from 2004 to 2011. Photograph: John Giles/PA
The former chief constable of South Yorkshire police who told a parliamentary committee he was ignorant of child grooming in Rotherham has resigned from his directorship at a top children’s hospital.
Meredydd Hughes, who was chief constable from 2004-11, had told MPs on the home affairs select committee in September that he had “no understanding of the scale and scope of what was going on in Rotherham”. Keith Vaz, the committee chair, told the former officer his claims of ignorance were impossible to believe.
On Tuesday night the 32-strong council of governors at Sheffield children’s hospital, one of only four such specialist NHS trusts in the UK, accepted Hughes’ resignation. Hughes had been non-executive director at the trust and was paid between £10,000 to £15,000 to sit for a couple days a month as a member of the clinical governance, finance and resources, and board nominations and remuneration committees.
He had also been the top police officer for South Yorkshire, overseeing investigations in Rotherham for a large part of the 16 years, when an official report said a “conservative estimate” was that 1,400 children were sexually exploited in the town. Girls, predominately white, as young as 11 were gang-raped by men, largely from the British Pakistani community.
MPs on the home affairs select committee said that Hughes’ performance was reminiscent of a man “suffering from Alzheimer’s disease”.
In a statement, the hospital said its “council of governors considered the position of Mr Hughes in light of ongoing investigations into child sexual exploitation during the time Mr Hughes was chief constable of South Yorkshire police. The council of governors decided that it would be inappropriate for Mr Hughes to continue as a non-executive director of the trust. Following [Tuesday night’s] meeting, Mr Hughes has resigned from the board with immediate effect.”
The Guardian has also seen correspondence that reveals Whitehall officials are examining whether Hughes should be stripped of honours he received for his police work. Hughes is in receipt of a CBE and the Queen’s police medal. An honour can only be revoked by the monarch.
However, an email seen by the Guardian from the honours and appointments secretariat in the Cabinet Office notes that “the case has been referred to the appropriate nominating department for their assessment”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *