Shaun Wright, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, has resigned after weeks of pressure stemming from the publication of a report into child sexual abuse in Rotherham. Wright was the councillor with responsibility for children’s services in the borough from 2005 to 2010, in the middle of a 16 year period when more than 1,400 children suffered sexual exploitation which was ignored by authorities including the council and police. He was elected as a Labour PCC in November 2012. His party suspended him after he resisted calls to resign.
In a statement Wright said:
‘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. This is detracting from the important issue, which should be everybody’s focus – the 1400 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.