DIGEST: South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright has announced he is stepping down from the role following the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, details of which emerged last month.
Mr Wright was cabinet member for children’s services at Rotherham MBC between 2005 and 2010. A report by professor Alexis Jay, published in August, said 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
There will be a by-election to replace Mr Wright, although the date of this has not yet been set.
Mr Wright published a statement that 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 from the position of Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, 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.
“As I’ve previously stated, I entered into public service to make a positive difference in South Yorkshire. Protecting vulnerable people and particularly victims of child sexual exploitation has been my number one priority as Commissioner and much progress has been made over the last two years.
“My intention had always been to continue my work with South Yorkshire Police and partners in making all the necessary changes and improvements required to safeguard and support the victims of these horrific crimes, and indeed to protect further potential victims through preventative actions.
“On resigning, I therefore truly wish the force, all the very best in continuing the journey of positive transformational change of those essential services which protect and support our most vulnerable people.”