The elected official in charge of policing in the northern English town of Rotherham quit yesterday after weeks of resisting political pressure to stand down over a scandal involving the sexual exploitation of as many as 1,400 children.
Shaun Wright was in charge of children’s services for the local authority during the time some of the abuse was occurring. An independent report last month revealed the crimes had been going on for 16 years.
Wright said he was stepping down as Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire because it was detracting from the focus of supporting the victims of the abuse in Rotherham, the scale of which shocked the country, and bringing those responsible to justice.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Police commissioners were brought in by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to oversee the work of police forces and set their priorities, but the revelation that they could not be sacked in the wake of criticism levelled at Wright has led to criticism.