South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, has appointed Professor John Drew to lead an Independent Review of South Yorkshire Police’s handling of reports of child sexual exploitation.

Dr Billings announced the review earlier this year, following the Alexis Jay and Louise Casey reports that highlighted the scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and a BBC report that alleged child sexual exploitation in Sheffield had been ignored by South Yorkshire Police. He has commissioned the review to look at how the Force has handled reports of child sexual exploitation to ensure that everything that can be reasonably known about the past is known.

Led by Professor Drew, the report will establish whether South Yorkshire Police has understood and acted upon the findings of reports and inspections into matters of child sexual exploitation. It will also look at whether the Force’s response to safeguarding children and young people has been adequate, not just in Rotherham but across the whole of South Yorkshire.

In setting out the terms of reference for the review, Dr Billings has considered the scope of other ongoing investigations and inspections by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) to avoid unnecessary duplication.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “Since announcing this review earlier this year I have been working to determine the areas to be looked at to ensure there is no unnecessary overlap with other ongoing investigations and inspections.

“I want this review to be fast, but thorough and I want a report at the end which satisfies me that South Yorkshire Police has genuinely acknowledged and fully addressed non-recent, as well as present day, occurrences of child sexual exploitation and I want to feel certain that robust plans are in place to ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again.

“Most of all I want to restore public confidence in South Yorkshire Police. The Force has many hard-working and dedicated officers and members of staff who are tirelessly chasing an end to the sexual exploitation of young people and I need to know that these officers and staff are supported to carry out their duties to the very best of their abilities.”

The review will start in September, following a period of scoping, and will last for three months. A report will be presented to the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and will be made public early in 2016.


The Chair: Professor John Drew CBE

Professor John Drew, is a former Chief Executive of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (2009-2013). Before that he was Director of Social Services and Housing in the London borough of Redbridge. He trained as a social worker at Sheffield University (1978) and worked in children’s social work from 1974. Between 1990 and 1992 he was County Inspector of Social Services for Essex.  Professor Drew was appointed CBE for services to youth justice in 2013.

Since leaving the Youth Justice Board in  2013, he has taken on a number of non-executive and part-time roles. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Bedfordshire; chairs the Medway Safeguarding Children’s Board; co-chairs the North East London Children’s Resettlement Consortia; is a Board member of East Thames Housing Association; and works with the Prison Reform Trust as a Senior Associate. He is a trustee of the Social Research Unit at Dartington and the Criminal Justice Alliance.

Professor Drew provides national and international consultancy on a wide range of social welfare issues. Recent clients include the government of the Republic of Turkey, as well as the Shaw Trust in the UK. He was an advisor to the Parliamentarian’s Inquiry into the Youth Court (the Carlile Inquiry) and is currently Secretary to the Laming Inquiry into children in care and the criminal justice system.


The themed areas that the review will cover:


Is the current organisational culture across the four districts a help or hindrance to future openness and transparency?

Effective appropriate leadership

Are SYP leaders effectively driving the fight against child sexual exploitation?


Has a target-focused recording of crime mentality prevented SYP from effectively tackling child sexual exploitation sooner?

Victim focus

Is the victim at the forefront of all policing decisions within SYP?


Is the scale of the problem confined to Rotherham, or county-wide?

Partnership working

Do current partnership relationships allow for open and honest discussions to take place, with free exchange of information?

Prosecutions and case-building

Has SYP encouraged case-building against perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, acknowledging the intricacies of information gathering?

Resource management

Does current SYP technology allow for the effective recording and sharing of information and data regarding child sexual exploitation?


The review will establish whether the failings and subsequent learning from these identified by South Yorkshire Police has been exclusive to Rotherham, or is inherent across the force area.