SOUTH Yorkshire Police has been slammed in a new report - which claims the force is still prioritising burglary and vehicle crime over child sex exploitation.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found that the emphasis from managers at South Yorkshire Police was still more focused on dealing with other crimes and must act immediately to improve its response.
It also found that intelligence teams were not fully supporting child sexual exploitation investigations and that staffing problems were hampering the investigations.
It said that these matters should be addressed 'as a matter of urgency'.
Crime commissioner Shaun Wright said there had been ‘a failure of management’ at South Yorkshire Police as he responded to the report, which he himself commissioned in the summer.
The HMIC inspection report did say, however, that South Yorkshire Police now showed a ‘clear commitment to enhancing the force's response to the sexual exploitation of children’ and found ‘all the officers and staff working in child protection to be deeply committed to their work’.
But the inspectors also said these efforts have had ‘mixed success’.
The report said: "Although staff and officers were aware that tackling child sexual exploitation was a stated force priority, this has not consistently been translated into operational activity on the ground at a local level."
Shaun Wright said: "The report makes a number of recommendations, with the most urgent to be implemented immediately and others within three and six months.
"I fully support the recommendations and have instructed the chief constable that he must ensure they're in place within the time frames set out by the inspectors.
"The commitment and effort of officers and staff on the front line of this most heinous of crimes is fully appreciated by me and rightly recognised by the inspectors.
'However, there is clearly a failure of management to turn my, and the public of South Yorkshire's, key strategic priority into operational effectiveness uniformly across the whole force area."