Radio Sandwell News

PCC Shaun Wright resigns over child abuse scandal

2014-09-16 12:37:51

Shaun Wright
Shaun Wright was elected as Police and Crime
Commissioner for South Yorkshire in 2012

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has resigned over the Rotherham child abuse scandal.

Mr Wright faced repeated calls to step down in the wake of a report which found at least 1,400 children were abused in the town from 1997 to 2013.

He was the head of children's services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010.

Mr Wright said he was stepping down to ensure the "important issues" outlined in the report can be discussed and considered "without distraction".

In a statement, he said: "My role as South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has clearly become prominent in terms of public opinion and media coverage following the publication of Professor Alexis Jay's report.

"This is detracting from the important issue, which should be everybody's focus - the 1400 victims outlined in the report - and in providing support to victims and bringing to justice the criminals responsible for the atrocious crimes committed against them.

"With this in mind, I feel that it is now right, to step down... for the sake of those victims, for the sake of the public of South Yorkshire and to ensure that the important issues outlined in the report about tackling child sexual exploitation can be discussed and considered in full and without distraction."

Grey Line

Shaun Wright profile

Shaun Wright, 46, was born in Royston, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire He now lives in Rawmarsh, Rotherham, with his wife, Lisa, and two sons.

In 2000 he was elected as the councillor for Rawmarsh and in 2005 he was appointed as the cabinet member for children and young people's services.

In 2010 he stood down from the post and in 2011 was appointed Mayor of Rotherham.

The following year he was elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, earning a salary of £85,000.

Shortly after he was elected as PCC, he stood down from his role as councillor for Rawmarsh.

Mr Wright is also a former vice chair of South Yorkshire Police Authority, a magistrate, a school governor and a trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

Grey Line

After Professor Alexis Jay's report was published on 26 August, Mr Wright faced calls to resign from Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband.

The report said girls as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated.

After appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee last week committee chair Keith Vaz said he would ask the home secretary about the possibility of legislation to remove Mr Wright.

He was also the subject of votes of no confidence passed by Rotherham Borough Council, Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel.

Harry Harpham, chair of the panel, said: "It's the right thing to do. I wish he'd resigned earlier.

"Now the task is to rebuild confidence and trust in those institutions which so badly let down the victims.

"The commissioner standing down means we can now focus on giving those victims the support they need."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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