Rotheram Scandal, Shaun Wright: too little too late?

Met Police Car

As more and more pressure mounts on Rotherham's police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright, Keith Vaz pushes for legislation to oust him.

Over the last month, public outrage over the systematic grooming and abuse of young girls in Rotherham has heightened; not least because the authorities stood by and did nothing, in several examples. As I have previously written, Shaun Wright was the council member in charge of young people's services during the peak of the abuse, and it is alleged he was warned on three occasions of the exploitation.

Now PCC for Rotherham; Wright's refusal to resign from his post in the wake of the scandal has put the government in a difficult situation; PCC's are meant to be independent figures, separate from Westminister, yet it is difficult to justify the lack of punishment of Wright.

Keith Vaz, however, Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Commitee, has not accepted Wright's claim that he was ignorant of the full scale of the problem whilst a councillor, instead calling for his "immediate resignation." Vaz will also be asking the Home Secretary about the possibility of emergency legislation to remove the disgraced PCC.

Theresa May indicated support for a power of recall for Police and Crime Commissioners such as Wright whilst speaking at the Police Superintendents Association conference. Saying there is a "debate to be had" about recall, is a debate really enough?

Even as Wright appeared before the committee, he continued to resist the criticism even of prominent figures such as the Prime Minister and Ed Miliband. MP Paul Flynn didn't hold back with his words, describing Wright as a "charlatan who has brought disgrace on the office."

The head of children's services at Rotherham council, Joyce Thacker, also appeared before the committee, and again confirmed she has no intention to resign, stating "hindsight is a wonderful thing."

I couldn't agree more with Ms.Thacker- hindsight is a wonderful thing- but it's a shame the government didn't create legislation to remove PCC's when the role was originally created. It is a scandal that a PCC can only removed from office if they commit a crime punishable by two years in prison and the failure to set out clear guidelines shows a complete lack of awareness. For the victims of Rotherham who are seeking justice, the "possibility" of legislation to remove Wright might just be too little, too late.