THE Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will investigate to see if any police officers or staff will be disciplined.

Thames Valley Police was criticised by the review’s author Alan Bedford for not taking the victims seriously and not following up enough reports of abuse.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “Looking back [child sexual exploitation] was not a term that we used in those early days. What we were dealing with was individual cases.

“Some of those cases we didn’t deal with very well and the review has been referred to the IPCC and we will look at whether there was any individual misconduct.”

She said: “If that’s the case they will be dealt with robustly.

“If officers have behaved inappropriately then they need to be held to account.”

Thames Valley’s Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld agreed, but said he doubted many will be punished.

He said: “When an inquiry takes as long as these inquiries have done a lot of the officers will no longer be on the force.

“It’s always difficult, it’s not entirely satisfactory. Ideally we would have found it much, much earlier – seven or eight years ago – and those incidents would have been dealt with at the time.”

The review said there were 1,561 recorded police contacts with the girls but just 26 offences recorded.

Both Ms Thornton and Mr Stansfeld denied there was any deliberate attempt to suppress the crime statistics.

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