Shaun Wright, the police and crime commissioner linked to a child abuse scandal through his previous role as executive member for children services on Rotherham Council, has finally resigned.
The final straw looks to have been a vote of no confidence passed by his regional police and crime panel last week, along with an endorsement of proposals for a law change to boot him out.
Wright was heckled from the public gallery throughout the meeting — and forced to take questions from victims of abuse and their families in emotional scenes:
It only took him three weeks to get the message.
His resignation statement in full:
The Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire has announced that Shaun Wright has stepped down today as South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Shaun 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.
“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.”
The Chief Executive is working with the returning officer, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Panel, and the Home Office on arrangements for a by-election and, in the meantime, the Police and Crime Panel will appoint an Acting Commissioner under the legislation to ensure smooth transition to new leadership. This is a decision for the Police and Crime Panel. The date of the by-election will be announced by the police area returning officer in due course.