South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has stepped down from the role after weeks of pressure over the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal.
Shaun Wright has come under increased fire since the publication of Professor Alexis Jay’s report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham as he was the councillor with responsibility for children’s services in the borough from 2005 to 2010.
He initially resisted mounting calls to resign in the wake of the publication of the report from the likes of the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and his former party, Labour.
But in a statement released today by his office, Mr Wright resigned, saying: “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.”
The statement, which contained no apology for the Rotherham abuse scandal, went on: “This is detracting from the important issue, which should be everybody’s focus - the 1,400 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.”