Attempting to understand the inactivity, the South Yorkshire police commissioner, Alan Billings, says: 'The only sense I can make of it is that at that time, police were prioritising other things ... I don't think anyone understood what grooming was.'
This is, at best, arrant nonsense and it really shouldn't be allowed to stand. The concept of grooming was understood well before this period, even if the word was not. Here's Anne Bannister from Manchester, an expert in the field, talking to Andy Beckett in the Independent on Sunday in 1996:
'Paedophiles rarely pick off children at random ... Instead abusers identify likely victims and draw them closer by "grooming", offering gifts, favours and friendly company over what may be weeks or even months.'Whatever the reason for the complacency of the authorities in Rotherham and elsewhere, it certainly wasn't ignorance of how abusers operate.