28th of February 2022
South Yorkshire police disciplinary of former Detective Sgt Dave Walker
10:30 AM chair-Simon Mallet panel members Simon Burrill (superintendent) and Jane Broadford, public representative.
Dave Walker is represented by Ryan Donaghue. Present also are Johnie Old of South Yorkshire police and Mick Whitehouse of South Yorkshire police, Sarah Bromfield of police standards department and Daniel Hobb, counsel for South Yorkshire police.
Three central allegations.
DS Walker denies the allegations of breaches of his duty and says that even if he is wrong they do not constitute gross misconduct.
The panel is asked to determine the facts and then to determine whether there has been a breach of professional standards of behaviour and if so whether any breach is misconduct or gross misconduct.
The background is child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. This panel focuses on this officer. Mr Hobbs will open the case. There will then be evidence heard at a later stage between the 21st and 30 March and then the panel will reconvene on 31 March and then on the 11th and 12th of April.
Mr Hobbs, counsel for South Yorkshire police.
There are three binders containing 5000 pages. First holds investigation reports and transcripts. The second holds documents. The third holds regulation 21 notices regarding proceedings for gross misconduct against DS Walker who denies the allegations and denies misconduct.
DS Walker’s legal representative on 17 February 2022 admitted the fact of non-recording. It is not challenged that DS Walker did not record the offences passed to him.
Jayne Senior of risky business reported to Christine Brodhurst Brown. Operation Central was a police operation initially led by Sgt Chang from December 2008 but then handed to DS Walker soon after that point and a criminal trial took place in November 2010. In December 2008 DS Walker established a working relationship with Risky business.
Between April 2009 and August 2011 allegations were passed to DS Walker. Rotherham district police contained a child protection unit. Prior to 2007 the child exploitation unit operated from the Mexborough police station. The public protection unit was established with offices in Sheffield at Doncaster Barnsley and Rotherham in 2007. The Rotherham unit was based in Maltby. It was run by DI Simon Palmer. The DI Palmer confirms that there were three branches to the Rotherham PPU. The first branch was domestic violence, the second was a NAPPA team, the third was a child abuse investigation unit. Each team had a dedicated sergeant and DS Walker was the dedicated Sgt for the child abuse investigation unit. He worked on the unit between April 2008 and 2012 when he then moved to a team working alongside the Council.
DS Walker had four officers, two detectives, one trained investigator and one PC. The child protection unit liaised with RMBC and Risky business. An investigation team was also shared with the rest of the PPU. In summer 2009 there was one detective sergeant, six detective constables and one child protection officer in the child investigation unit.
CSE was first reported by Andrew Norfolk and times. The parliamentary home affairs select committee asked questions in September 2012 of South Yorkshire police chief Constable. Later the independent office of police conduct started Operation Lyndon. It is not suggested that DS Walker was solely responsible for failures outlined in the press. Operation Lyndon looked at 47 officers, established eight cases of misconduct and six cases of gross misconduct.
DS Walker failed to record information about victims and allegations from risky business. There were 10 emails taken as a sample from 26 emails sent by Jayne senior relating to CSE in 2009.
DS Walker failed to record and/or act on Rotherham Council youth worker allegations, an allegation passed by Jayne senior to him on 21 August 2009 that this youth worker was involved in trafficking of children for CSe. DS Walker failed to take any investigative steps.
Risky business identified two young sisters exploited by Asian males working at Fareham Road car wash. DS Walker failed to take any steps to investigate.
The 10 sampled reports from Jayne senior sent via email were as follows.
DS Walker is alleged to have failed to act diligently on numerous occasions causing this information to go unrecorded on the system. He failed to take rudimentary steps and contributed to diminished intelligence sources.
DS Walker’s response was as follows. The child sexual offences investigation units ambit was familial abuse rather than CSE. He says the concept of CSE was in its infancy and he had not been trained in it. He blames a lack of clarity as to the respective roles within the PPU and he was not aware how wide his discretion was.
South Yorkshire police says as follows.
The issue of CSE was recognised by South Yorkshire police in 1999. Risky business was created at that point. By April 2009 there was no suggestion that DS Walker was not fully appraised of CSE in Rotherham. In 1999 at the document created by South Yorkshire police gave guidelines for police coming into contact with CSE and child prostitution. It was committed to treating children as victims. An investigation flowchart was helpful and required all contact with girls to be recorded on the police system.
In 2001 Inspector Mick Kevin opens Operation Thorst
In 2002 Dr Angie Heal reported on CSE and drugs and recommended intelligence reports were submitted on every contact.
In 2006 the Collins report on sexual offences against 17-year-old and under took place. Sup’t Matt Jukes required district and force PPUs to identify CSE early.
In 2006 Dr Angie Heal reported on violence and gun crime in South Yorkshire and reported that there was a established child sexual exploitation scene in South Yorkshire.
In 2005 and 2000 DI Peter Horner began the exploitation pilot increasing the force’s ability to investigate CSE.
In May 2006 chief superintendent Matt Jukes recognised CSE and made it a priority of policing.
In 2007 details of CSE could be recorded on the intelligence system .
In 2007 risky business gave two rounds of training to police officers.
In 2007 South Yorkshire police instructions were published on the day-to-day management by district PPUs. They were to be overseen by Detective inspectors with specially trained officerswith all police officers bringing CSE to the attention of PPU.
In December 2007 chief superintendent Matt Dukes met Jayne senior. Better links were established and risky business was encouraged to submit information directly to the PPU. The PPU had a central role to play.
In October 2008 DI Palmer jointed the PPU. He wanted all members to be detective constables. He saw the need to engage with partners. He and DS Walker were the driving force in bringing CSE into the PPU (prior to this only familial abuse having covered by the PPU).
In 2008 DS Walker took on the responsibility of Operation Central. Detective superintendent Matt Jukes resourced PPUs to enable them to take the investigation forward of operation central and to lead on all matters on CSE via the child abuse investigation unit. It had sufficient resources and enough training at that point.
DS Walker’s own role according to his PDR appraisal of June 2009 was that he identified and championed the CSE investigation unit and had made it a more effective unit.
DS Walker in is PDR appraisal explained that he had brought in protocols. He knew the ambit of the unit had expanded and that CSE was alive in Rotherham. He had trained others in his role was clearly defined and he had the resources are necessary.
The CATS system was used to record referrals and concerns. An officer would add info to each referral. Referrals were only be closed by DS Walker. One child may have several referrals. The system was a closed system with only PPU officers being able to use it. It was not an intelligence sharing system. The principle route was for referrals to go to the central referral unit, part of headquarters PPU. The central referral unit was established in July 2007 at a central hub. Referrals then went to district CPUs to investigate. Social care referrals would go to the CRU to pass on to the PPUs also. Police officers could also submit a report to the CRU or direct to their own district PPU attached to one of two forms, GEN118A (cause for concern) or a GEN117 (significant harm)
Alternative routes were also PPUs attending strategy meetings and bringing back information to record on the CATS system.
Risky business was encouraged to make contact direct. Superintendent Matt Jukes requested Jayne senior of risky business to send items in to him directly. He wanted PPU officers to have a relationship with Risky business.
The CATS system was not a good intelligence system as it was closed and only available to the PPU officers.
Officers had to fill out a national report form and send it in centrally. They were required to do this from June 2007 and were required to enter the details on the OIS system which was a more open system. There is an obligation on officers to gather intelligence. The PPU was on the same corridor as the intelligence unit at Maltby. This was posted Soham and Detective superintendent Matt Jukes wanted the PPUs to put CATSmaterial onto OIS intelligence system also. OIS was replaced with the OIS2 system in 2008. The OIS system is more open enabling searches of names, nicknames details and phone numbers etc.
Child eight and nine and the Ferham Road car wash. DS Walker received information in July 2009 that these to you girls were having sex with men at the car wash but took no action. They were aged 15 and 13. PC Paul Gray on 24 July 2009 saw girl 8 drunk on Clifton Road in Rotherham. He was working on Operation Stay Safe in the Wharncliffe locality. PC Gray thought both 8 at 9 were at risk so completed a GEN188 form and sent it to district PPU. He acted in accordance with the 2007 instructions requiring him to fill out the form. The girls were drinking regularly, missing from home, having sex with Asian males at the car wash. Child eight was having sex with several males. The girls were out of control and being exploited.
The PPU opened a CATS record on 27 July 2009 as CSE concerns. This is allocated to DS Walker and four days later DS Walker said to a colleague, ‘This is a matter for social services please liaise and finalise’. No national intelligence report was submitted their record was placed on OIS the case was more serious due to their vulnerability and the child abuse investigation unit had already received for other report about them. DC Arrowsmith in May 2009 concerning 9 going missing and men grooming her at that point DS Walker said there were no offences and closed the referral. On 16 July PC Roberts reported the child 9 age 13 was hanging around with other older males and missing from home. The report was allocated to DS Walker who recorded ‘matter resolved by police’ on 21 August 2009 PC Nuttall reported child 9 associating with Kosovan an Asian males in their late teens and 20s. DS Walker recorded ‘this has been dealt with by police please liaise with social services’.
On 29 June 2009 PC Arrowsmith reported church 8 eight and child 9 drinking and taking drugs with older men as stated ‘this family is coming to our attention more and more’. The vulnerability of both girls was known to DS Walker.
DS Walker failed to report this on the national intelligence system for OIS and failed to investigate. PC Gray attended a strategy meeting called by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council on the sexual exploitation procedures. PPU did not attend. The mother of 8 and 9 gave the names and nicknames of men that the girls were associating with, she stated that the girls were being picked up in expensive cars and given alcohol. On balance it is believed that Anne Brown of the council spoke to DS Walker about the Ferham road car washed. DS Walker asked whether it was licenced or needed to be. He decided that he was not andthe council could not revoke its licence.
PC Gray added nicknames to the OIS system. DS Walker did nothing at all. He didn’t talk to 8 or 9 or try to talk to mum orpeople at the car wash. No abduction notices were issued.
Nicola Beagles, social worker for child 8 said this was the highest risk case she had ever dealt with. DS Walker said it was the council’s responsibility.
27 August 2009 at the child protection conference child protection plans decided that DS Walker should be spoken to. The organisation CROP sent a letter to Rotherham police complaining about the lack of action on the case.
On the 22nd of September 2009 Risky business complained the child 8 was threatened with a gun.
On 23 September a strategy meeting is held and DS Walker attended. DS Walker agreed to meet the mother but he did not and left it to social services to talk to 8 and 9. There would talk about the owner of the gun.
On 28 September Risky business reported the child minder was visiting perp 10, a sex offender.
On 28 September DI Palmer reported back to CROP via letter and mentioned that Operation central was going well.
On 30 October 2009 child 8 had been spoken to by social services. Mother and child mind have been spoken to also. Despite of this DS Walker took no action and no abduction notices were issued.
On 25 October 2009 two abduction notices were served on men connected with child 9. No abduction notices were served on anyone connected with child 8. The review of the PPU response led to South Yorkshire police referring themselves to the IOPC on 17 March 2016.
DS Walker received an email on 31 August 2009 that suspect 11, the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council youth worker was involved in CSE in that he had identified girls and passed their names to potential abusers. DS Walker did not record information on CATS or the OIS system and took no action. No conversations were had with Jayne senior or Christine Brodhurst Brown. It should have been logged on the CATS system and on the OIS system mentioning girl 18 and the suspect.
There was a special procedure for this type of trusted individual abuse. It should have been referred to the LADO. DS Walker knows about the LADO as it is mentioned in his PDR. Child 18 disclosed abuse on 7 August 2009. She told Christine Brodhurst Brown And then she told DS Walker on 21 August 2009. Further discussion took place in September 2009 and DS Walker was asked to call. A meeting of the LADO took place in 12 October 2009. Jayne senior complained that DS Walker not call her. DS Walker failed to contact Christine Brodhurst Brown also. Girl 18 was not interviewed about this. On balance DS Walker did nothing at all and left it to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to resolve. The national crime agency say that suspect 16, the youth worker is being investigated.
It is also alleged that DS Walker failed to take investigative steps on the 10 of emails sent by Jayne senior a risky business between April 2009 and August 2011. None of these emails recorded on the CATS system. The IOPC have looked at DS Walker’s email account and emails from Jayne senior. They selected 10 emails at random from the 26th she had submitted.
Email 1) 22 of April 2009. Information that child one had been touched by suspect 1 and the suspect had touched child 2. Suspect 1 was recently arrested for rape of a child in operation central. Jayne senior named suspect 1. He had a specific brain injury. A diligent police officer would have recorded on the police system the fact that child 1 and 2 were at risk. No record was made. DS Walker said PC should have recorded information. He said PC Jeff Hartley should have completed the GEN118A form
Email 2) 8th July 2009 child 3 had visited suspect 2 age 52 and touched by him and was asked to bring her sister to suspect 2’s address. Suspect 2 is known to police and DS Walker. DS Walker says child 3 was in Operation central and child 3 had complained of rape by another perpetrator. Suspect 2 was not prosecuted. If DS Walker have recorded this information the information of touching by suspect 2 and child 4 would have been known and investigated and may have assisted the other rape allegation she had made. Child A had been recorded by PS Thomas in March 2009 in relation to suspect two.
Following the break the chair of the panel wants a brief summary of emails. Mr Hobbs says that allegation one is failure to recorded 10 emails information, the failings are cumulative. They include threats to rape and possession of firearms. They should have been recorded. Police intelligence systems are depleted as a result. Complaints were raised by Jayne senior to DS Walker. The information identifying vulnerable young girls and grooming activity and failure to deal with them caused further harm to these children. We say it is nothing other than gross misconduct. The chair wants a timetable for witnesses. The panel will return of 21 March two 2022 until 1 April and then on the 11th and 12th of April for a decision. The decision will be in writing if the panel has time.