Andrew Norfolk

In this BBC News interview, Andrew Norfolk, the Times journalist whose investigations helped expose the abuse and rape of children in Rotherham, describes his work and the serious failing of all the authorities involved.

Andrew Norfolk was winner of the Paul Foot award (2012) and the Orwell Prize (2013) for political writing for his two year investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenage girls by gangs of men.

His investigation first started when he covered concerns raised by Keighley MP Ann Cryer in 2003, who was the first mainstream figure to speak out about gangs of Asian men meeting young girls outside secondary schools, but he didn’t follow it up. In 2010 he realised that no one seemed to have made the connection and became “increasingly uneasy” that he had not followed up on Cryer’s claims.

His then editor at the Times, James Harding, asked him to work full time on the story. He said; “We are going to carry on working on this story and running stories about this until we are satisfied that every single body in the country that has a responsibility for child protection has systems in place that we feel are adequate to, A, protect children, and, B, to detect and prosecute offenders.”

As he describes in the video (and is documented in the Times article below), it was not an easy task. The Rotherham council attempted a High Court injunction against the Times, and also involved the police to try find the source of their documents.

Nearly four years later, he feels his work is vindicated.

On Tuesday, the leader of Rotherham council resigned and offered “heartfelt apologies” to girls as young as 11 in the South Yorkshire town who were routinely gang-raped, abducted and trafficked to other cities.

However, the story is not yet over.
As he says, no official who worked in a senior managerial position for the local authority during that period has been subjected to any disciplinary action.

More of Andrew Norfolk’s Times features.

Council hid evidence for a decade
It came far, far too late for many hundreds of damaged girls, but with its decision to commission the independent inquiry that led to yesterday’s damning report, the leadership of Rotherham council has finally begun to confront the sins of its past.

The local authority’s belated commitment to openness stands in marked contrast to its determined efforts in past years to hide, beneath a very large stone, evidence of a crime pattern that was allowed to plant deep and poisonous roots.

The inquiry report gives details of research findings, submitted to the council and South Yorkshire police in 2002, 2003 and 2006, that were “disbelieved, suppressed or ignored”. Much was said yesterday by senior council representatives about the inquiry report’s acknowledgement of a significant improvement in the way the sexual exploitation of girls had been addressed in Rotherham since 2011. As recently as 2012, however, those holding the reins of power at the council were continuing the decade-long exercise in refusing fully to acknowledge and learn from disastrous past mistakes.

When a serious case review was ordered into the 2010 murder of Laura Wilson, 17, the council’s safeguarding children board tried to withhold it from publication. The board, ordered to publish by the government, produced a report with heavy redactions that concealed information about the ethnicity of adults who had been suspected of grooming her for sex from the age of 11. It also hid details of care professionals’ involvement with the girl from the age of 11 to 15.

When the council discovered that The Times intended to publish information about care workers’ knowledge of Laura’s involvement with “Asian men”, it sought at great expense a High Court injunction barring publication.

It dropped the legal action in June 2012 after Michael Gove, the education secretary at the time, accused the board of withholding “relevant and important material”. Three months later, this newspaper revealed the extent of Rotherham’s failure to protect exploited children. The council’s response was to ask the police, and then a firm of solicitors, to investigate the leak of restricted information.

Last August, The Times published information about a 15-year-old Rotherham girl, in the care of social services, who was allowed extensive daily contact with a violent offender suspected of grooming more than a dozen young teenagers for sex.

A few days after the article’s publication, the council ordered an independent inquiry. It should not have taken more than a decade. More girls suffered as the council obfuscated. Future councils, tempted to chase leaks rather than act on their failings, must take heed.

The Times 27 August 2014


Filed under Abuse, News

25 responses to “Andrew Norfolk

  1. mauro mauri

    halo i m italian, journalist and i would like to contact Andrew Norfolk for his exxxellent work on how Muslims Brothers infiltrated Amnesty Internationalj

  2. Cryer may have been first mainstream figure but she certainly wasn’t the first figure to raise concerns.
    Ironic that Norfolk got the Orwell prize while relegating those that were among the first to try tackling this to the memory hole!

  3. trowelandtoothbrush

    Sorry my link is a bum. Loads of images first. To see poster go four rows down and first left. Black and white photo of young woman in jeans and top holding her face. There is another that I think isn’t shown untill much further down showing two hands mail and female chained together.

  4. Norfolk was asking CSA questions of Wright during his campaigning for the PCC to which Wright responded “Why are you picking on Rotherham?”

    More and probably a lot worse to come, Islington?

    • I’m sure you’re correct but I’ve learnt that it’s best to kick the door in when I see it slightly ajar on a child abuse issue. Hopefully exposing Rotherham will open eyes to other local authorities.

      • dpack

        i agree about kicking the door in if it is ajar (and busting it open if it is closed).
        tis best done with carefulness and overwhelming force .
        avoid booby traps ,systematically clear every room of hostiles then move on to the next premises.

  5. card2

    Blog I don’t want to go any further unless some evidence, that Lady Dr Isobel Barnett was writing a dossier on child abuse is produced, but I think it may be worth keeping in mind this.

    Lady Barnett, I think, was a senior figure in Spastics Society now called Scope. The disabled children in the Beeches at Ixworth did include cerebral palsy children. Cerebral palsy children do feature in the few deaths so far identified. . The parents in London, concerned at six years of deaths, 66 to 72,, formed a group they called “Compassion”. I would think it far more likely than not that “Compassion” would have involved Spastics Society.

    It certainly adds to the question about Barbara Castle and Jack Straw. IF they were spurining a report from a person of the calibre of Dr Lady Isobel Barnett. Quite a call Jack ?

  6. card2

    Anna I recently reported to Theresa May and Sir Bernard Hogan Howe (no reply). An ex Military Police Officer became a property manager looking after properties owned by a notorious old London villain gang. When Stephen Lawrence was killed this businessman contacted Met Police seeking to get the murder inquiry to investigate school gate drug pushing and activity. Whether by mistaken identity or not the information was that there had been a number of turf war fights between white drugs pushers and black drugs pushers with whom allegedly Lawrence was associated.

    There was an allegation about under age white girls and a history of Met Police allowing six black perpetrators to escape reported incidents by busing away in 3 pairs. It was reported this was a known modus operandum of a six strong black drug pushing and assault gang.

    The ex Military Police Officer, well connected, man’s information was not looked at. Covered up from the very start even before two weeks after the killing Doreen Lawrence met state visiting Nelson Mandela and created political pressure on Met.

    That is not a good way to start an inquiry that led to conclusions about institutional racism. I bet even me stating the above facts will lead to moderator jitters because the sainted Doreen Lawrence (SWP UAF etc) might be offended. Perhaps the lesson is if we want to condemn fear in the responsible authorities we best start by not succumbing to fear self censoring our blog comment information.

    We have seen the fear of being labelled homophobic being bannered, almost as a virtue, as a pathetic excuse of the Islington Social Services abuse history. Now we see the fear of being labelled racist being bannered in the Rotherham cases.

      • trowelandtoothbrush

        card2, Tom Driberg,s wife who he married in 1951 worked as an administrator for the Mairie Curie hospital in London according to Wikipedia. Though the cancer charity association might be more than co incidental. Tom Driberg has the longest and most comprehensive wikipedia entry I’v ever seen in my life. Somebody wants us to know all about him. Backed up by choice quotes from Evelyn Waugh! Check it out it’s a mini biog.

      • card2

        Thanks T and T. It may even possibly be interesting for me to bear in mind how close Driberg was living to Bradwell nuclear plant. I was invited to report to the Chris Huhne post Japanese tsunami review of UK nuclear power plant safety and security. Sabotage being my main area of interest.

        But the way things work out is that tentacles spread from the core interest.

        If for example you google the name Keith Lindsay Hunter. You won’t be long before you get Tom Watson’s MP parliamentary privilege good questions of the Murdochs naming Alex Leighton of Mayfayre and asking if Mayfayre (Hunter was a director) was paying det sgt John Davidson for Scotland Yard info to pass to News Intl. Yes Davidson of the Lawrence Inquiry.

        That begat a question (being covered up) whether an employee of Mayfayre was a senior figure in International Bodyguards Assn. As we don’t know who the source of moonlight bodyguard work was to Det sgt John Davidson for which he was disciplined 1995. That begat Deal Barracks IRA bombing 89 questions why was the IBA (Founded by unlawful use of the barracks 76 to 83) not listed in the Admiralty Board Report to Govt history of security warnings. Especially as in 1982 retired Brigadier Mike Harvey reported IBA use of Deal Barracks direct to MI5. Allegedly connected with IRA supportive nazi group League of St George. And hey tentacle presto the League relationship with Harvey Proctor !!

        And since the IBA founder is associated with private military cadet group in Thanet which cllr tried to sustain council funding for the private cadets ? It’s one later arrested for downloading child porn in most serious category.

        And the leader of the private cadets was an associate of IBA and of a bogus blackbelt who served time for indecent assault on a boy karate student 1970s but somehow eventually gained a seat (sic) on Thanet council backed Thanet Sports Council.

        My interest started as a Reliance Guard with a forged Army Record book working at Deal barracks the explosion year 89. He was an adult leader of this “Kent Adventure Training corps” but also an associate of an IRA supportive SWP shop steward against whom, IMO, I had a cast iron prima facie case for sabotage of emergency generators. Reported to Kent Police 87 and 89 along with security warnings to upgrade Deal barracks security but Kent Plod refused to act.

        It is always a tangled web.

    • anna

      Re Card2,
      Thanks for that interesting piece,lol dont talk to me of swp-uaf haha I clash with them often due to my outspoken views,which I cant help if I see injustice I have to speak out against it,and now being an OAP I cant keep me big gob shut I am worse than ever ,they can call me a racist till the cows come home,but if its racist to tell the truth on current affairs ,then let them call me racist ,if I had a pound for every time I have been called racist for pointing out the truth I wouldnt be posting on here I would be living it up on a hot sunny beach somewhere right now…………this is not the country I grew up in in the 40`s as a child,and I doubt all those brave young lads who rushed off to the forced slaughter and bloodbaths of WW1 and WW2 would have ever in their wildest dreams pictured a country today, where innocent young White girls would be treated like pieces of unwanted trash by unwanted foreign invaders ,whilst the chosen few foreign robber barons in power, daily BUGGER our young white lads,and no one raises an eyebrow,
      take care

      • card2

        Thanks for your reply. Maybe you will find Thanet South of interest now Nigel Farage is prospective UKIP parliamentary candidate. The SWP/UAF (Doreen Lawrence was challenged by Nigel and claimed to be little to do with UAF and distanced herself from their violence) launched an anti Farage campaign accusing UKIP Thanet members of being ex National Front.

        This attack has bounced back at them. With their prodigious knowledge of right wing groups in Thanet why have they stayed silent about the established presence locallyof the IRA supportive League of Saint George ?

        Could it be that SWP, also being IRA supportive, feel some sort of kindred glow with the extremist League of Saint George.

        All this is causing a headache for the Green Party parliamentary candidate because he is ex SWP. It is causing heads scratching for the tory candidate because League of St George people appear to have joined Thanet South and Thanet North tory assns.

        I suspect Needleblog already has an inkling of how this ramble is making its way towards paedophilia. The Desmond Tutu Commission of Inquiry 1994 into a mercenary attack on the Mandela Regime. Evidence heard from a mercenary turned witness Ronald Deuster who used Royal Temple Yacht Club Ramsgate from time to time as a correspondence address. And evidence from the SWP/ANL/.UAF favoured magazine Searchlight. Searchlight then published reports of their evidence about the mercenaries being prepared and launched from Thanet with the support of the local League of Saint George.

        Now of course police do not want to answer if the notorious Warwickshire Parker twins paedophiles were among this contingent of mercenaries.

        The League of Saint George named itself after those British Servicemen who joined SS.

        After WW2 the Hitler admiring Richard Rapier Stokes MP Ipswich Labour MP championed the cause of the SS Galcian Divin to settle in UK. You may know that as Lord Privy Seal he worked with MI6/Anglo Iranian Oil man Eric Berthoud and CIA to overthrow Mossadeq in Iran and install a puppet Shah. Berthoud a retired Foreign Office man in later life formed the Colchester Cttee for Refugee Relief and became Chaurman of the Sue Ryder Support Group at the time (1971) when official Sue Ryder supported by her charity founder Airey Neave “Released” 1200 men reputedly held in German postwar internment. It is now reasonable to suspect that the charities of Leonard Cheshire and his wife Sue Ryder were MI5 protected assets of “The Vatican ratlines” for escaping nazi war criminals.

        And this is the context that Welsh Regional Crime Squad inquires in 1972 stumbled into. Suspecting UK identity theft via GP death registration fraud they escalated inquiry and were threatened to drop it by Special Branch. The RCS Det sgt defied them and died receiving a suicide verdict. Volunteer Matron Mary McGill of the Sue Ryder HQ Cavendish became susoicious of the distance kept between home admin and the care staff (Matron was very concerned at appalling care standards in the charity too). Mary McGILL was reported as drowned in the Cavendish HQ care home lake 22.1.72.

        Six months later Barbara Castle raised the Commons question. Apparently keeping no record herself. Sir Keith Joseph refused inquiry. Even though inmate Stefania Bronk had just been found dying facedown in her bath at the Sue Ryder HQ Cavendish July 1972. Her inmate husband had died 3 weeks earlier of a suspected “Medical accident”

        RCS in Wales had discovered that Special Branch liaison was being used from Home Office to spy on and secretly “Control” to protect Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder Homes from proper police inquiry.

        All of which says to me that Jimmy Savile abuse at Sue Ryder child hospice Leeds 1970s was almost certainly known about by MI5. Which would make them party, if not orchestrator, of the cover up.

        I don’t want to launch over the border into conspiracy theory. But in 1944 Harry Sporborg (Later co founder Sue Ryder charity with Airey Neave) laid the foundations for what later became the Gladio network. The suspicion is that the Galician SS settled in UK were recruited into a secret resistance in waiting (against Russian threat) armed cell network. In 1990 the EU passed a resolution on member states to investigate and dismantle all unlawful military groups. UK did not comply. Darling of the left Mary Honeyball MEP refused to take up this issue (Funny old socialist) but Michael Cashman MEP in Midlands did take it up. UK said the resolution was not binding on us.

        Multiculturalism is a belief system based on a social theory that all cultures are accorded equal merit in one land. The Galician SS must have been goosetep dancing for joy. There they were settled into the country that had just defeated them and not only that their culture of genocide, anti semtism, making war on unarmed populations etc was to receive equal billing with a culture of law and tradition that had been refined since the law first created (Based on Rights and Duties to individual peace .. the Queens Peace) by Alfred the Great.

        Rant ends. Thanks for replying to my comment.

      • trowelandtoothbrush

        Yup indeedy. In the midst of all this my friend visited on Friday afternoon from her work in a charity warehouse that sells everything for a quid. And told me a woman had stolen three things. The manager ran out and said “give me the stuff back you took” and she gave him one thing so he said “there was other stuff give me that back too”. Some people watching started shouting at her to give them back. She then gave them back and said “you white people are all the same”. Until that point she had just been a shop lifter, after that point she became a small Asian woman making out a tall white man and some white onlookers were harassing her in the eyes of any passers by
        My friend was shocked at how easily and unfairly he could be accused of racism just for retrieving the stuff from her, particular at such a racially sensitive time in the national news. Horrid.

  7. during W W II it was jewish men exploiting in exactly the same way.
    Some years ago the TV celebrities Barbara kelly and Isobel barnet
    went to minister Barbara castle and told her of MPs and others buggering small boys in care homes ona massive scale, the BBC threw Isobel barnet off TV as a troublemaker and gave the hit show to jewess esther rantzen and changed the name to thats life
    Barbara keplly was married to the programmes originator bernard braden
    who along with his wife and lady isoble barnet were never again seen on TV
    some short while later isobel barnet was accused of steaking someything worth 87 pence froma shop and alegedly took her life
    she had ben compilinga dissier on goernment ministers involved in homosexual shenagigans with boys

    • card2

      David if Isobel Barnett reported to Barbara Castle when she was DHSS minister mid 70s then that was a time Castle’s special advisor was a young barrister Jack Straw. This blog has already examined the cover up or refusal of inquiry concerning the still unknown number of deaths at the Beeches Ixworth 1966 to 1972 and raised the question why Castle continued to suppress inquiry into either The Beeches or the nearby Sue RYder Home Cavendish. The Beeches was a private care home, for disabled children, used by Hackney Social Services.

      • trowelandtoothbrush

        Roughly four years past, realising that the white unemployed from formally industrialized areas such as Govan were becoming increasingly interested in politics through contact with foot soldiers of UKIP and various less sophisticated outfits like the Scottish Defence League and that as a re awoken political demographic the white unemployed Scots had to be offered some recompense for what they felt was unacceptable behaviour from Asian communities the below link is what they offered us. (incidentally and anecdotally, every single white person, without exception, on a lower household income that I have engaged with politically has sited the manner in which the Asian community operate socially and business wise as a major impediment to building strong integrated and equal communities in Scotland’s South and central regions) so the SNP The No to Forced Marriage poster campaign mainly posted around Mosques. I call it a truth to distract from truths although undoubtedly a source of hope and comfort to young Asian women finding the courage to defy their families, it seemed to escape the notice of many that the campaign was condemning forced marriage not arranged marriage. I cannot intelligently conclude that the SNP do not know well that the Asian business network is built on marriage brokering and when arranged marriage, never mind the forcing, is outlawed as the inhuman emotional abuse it is then the Asian business community, who lets face it are not renown for their community co operartives or their not for profit social enterprises (which is the way most growing respected white businesses seem to be headed up here)
        will simply leave taking huge amounts of revenue and taxes with them. Every one of the major parties want their vote. also they get on with their interests and not with agitating for social change as a demographic. It behoves all the established parties to have them in ascendancy in poor communities rather than giving the discontented white underclass a chance to organise and thrive. whenever the white underclass do they are branded rascist as soon as they address the mere fact that they can’t so much as afford to rent a shop in the local estate arcade because they are Asian owned and exuberantly priced. I know, I’v tried five times in eight years. As soon as they want to talk about Pakistani men using vulnerable girls as a growth industry they are slapped down. The white liberal middle classes being used as a devise to ridicule them. As they were in appalling case of Raoul Moat. Devide and Rule.

      • trowelandtoothbrush

        Dear card2 and David. If the information in this independent article on a favorite restaurant of the Labour party in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies is accurate in describing both Barbara Castle and Tom Driberg as “fixtures” at the resteraunt, the Gay Hussar, decribed as the labour partie’s unofficial headquarters during those years, then it would not be terribly surprising if Barbara Castle felt inclined to suppress a document that might be potentially damaging to Tom Driberg who we now know was a pederast.

      • card2

        Thanks T and B that Gay Hussar stuff is very interesting. Driberg was of course chums with the Krays of Bildeston Suffolk. Driberg was across the border from Suffolk rural beats like that of 24 parishes around Clare. There was a Suffolk rural beat officer (Not Clare area of 110 square miles) posted to Haverhill town duties 1972 IIRC. He was associated with providing alibis for the Krays about being with them in Essex when various crimes occurred in London. HQ wanted him off a rural beat and under the section sergeant eyeballs in Haverhill town all of a sudden in 1972

        I would give my eye teeth to find out if he had been Ixworth rural beat officer (The Beeches child deaths in Hackney social services care 66 to 72). Needleblog has already published a thread re Minister Sir Keith Joseph refusing Commons requests for care inquiries in West Suffolk 1972. Deaths and poor care standards Sue Ryder Cavendish and the unknown number of child deaths at the Beeches Ixworth.66 to 72.

        I do know from Barbara Castle letters written when MEP that she claimed never to have kept records about the Sue Ryder question in 72 even though it was her who put the question in the Commons. I do have the letters of the time and a report from the lady who involved Barbara Castle in 1972 and those documents have long been in the sworn exhibit report I put to Attorney General. The reason the lady contacted Barbara Castle shadow minister was that Minister Sir Keith Joseph would not her.

        Thanks for the linkie

    • Sam

      Oh God. I always though this lady’s suicide was highly peculiar. RIP Isobel Barnett.

  8. anna

    What happened in Rotherham is no diferent to what goes on across England nightly in any city,In Luton you can drive around certain areas late at night and see young WHITE girls who look no more than 11 years old standing on corners touting for custom ,
    I was totally shocked when I first witnessed these poor children,I said to my friend PLEASE tell me those poor little girls are not doing what I think they are ,he said of course they are,he said its a normal sight daily in Luton to see Asian men in cars waiting at school gates to pick up these poor WHITE children,THE POLICE ,COUNCIL I GUESS THEY DO THE SAME AS THEY DO IN ROTHERHAM,KEIGTHLY,AND MANY OTHER CITIES WITH LARGE ASIAN MUSLIM COMMUNITIES,LOOK THE OTHER WAY,strangly you never see Hindu or Sikh men doing grooming

  9. Cj aka Elderofzyklons Blog

    Reblogged this on ElderofZyklon's Blog!.

  10. UK council modus operandi. I wonder if there is a guide somewhere on how to cover up abuse for councils? Probably published by the home office in the early eighties….

  11. steve

    All these so called professional people that were in charge,should be charged with neglect,sued for all monies paid to them to do a job as obviously they did not do there job,its yet again a complete cover up and those in charge walk away with pension and the corrupt will just employ these creeps in another dept some where

    • Anon

      They know too much. Why does this PCC have the confidence to stand there with his two fingers up to everyone?