- ITV Report
- 30 October 2014 at 10:19am
Whistleblower says police ‘cherry-picked’ Rochdale arrests
The health worker responsible for gathering the main evidence in the 2012 Rochdale child sex abuse case has told ITV News the police were “cherry-picking” which perpetrators they were going to arrest to enable a conviction.
Sara Rowbotham, who worked as Rochdale Crisis Intervention Team coordinator from 2004, claimed police had put a “ceiling” on the number of victims they could interview and people they could arrest.
The health worker said she had alerted the authorities to hundreds of children who were being abused and referred around 100 cases of child exploitation.
“They [the police] said there was a ceiling on the number of victims they wanted to interview, there was a ceiling on the number of perpetrators they were going to identify,” she said.
Rowbotham, who was tasked with identifying young people vulnerable to child sex exploitation, said police had “nothing to celebrate” after as they only convicted “a tiny proportion of the perpetrators.”
“Some of the witnesses who appeared in court absolutely were victims, and their evidence was never taken forward because they [the police] were concentrating solely on nine men – that was all they were prepared to do,” she added.
The whistleblower said she was still disappointed that no one has been held to account for their failings and that she was disappointed with the results of a report led by MP Ann Coffey.
Rowbotham highlighted that some social workers responsible for the Rochdale victims were allowed to resign and move on “without being seen as culpable.”
Rowbotham, who fought for a Serious Case Review and was commended for her work by the Home Affairs Select Committee, was made redundant in February.
Last updated Thu 30 Oct 2014