The bizarre and tragic manhunt for Ashya King and his parents has got me thinking about the Rotherham abuse scandal and how the police respond to complaints.
Let's compare the two cases:
In Rotherham over the course of about six years, 1,600 victims routinely suffered appalling sexual abuse. Much of this abuse was reported to the police and we now know that it was dismissed - and appears to have been covered up. In Southampton a little boy with cancer was not able to get the radiation treatment available in some other countries and so his parents took him out of the hospital to seek the treatment abroad. As there was no court order to prevent this at the time, there is a legal argument as to what if any offence was committed. Nevertheless a much publicised police operation was launched to track the boy and his family to Spain.
In Rotherham the people making the complaints to the police were vulnerable young girls. People from what is stigmatised as the 'underclass' - people who lack 'advocacy'. On the other hand in Southampton the people doing the complaining were taken from a group of people at the very other end of the scale - both in status and in advocacy - doctors and medical professionals.
And in both cases a smoke screen has been thrown up to obscure institutional incompetence . In Rotherham it is the suggestion that it was political correctness and multiculturalism and in Southampton it was the fact that Aysha's parents are Jehovah's Witnesses. in both instances this smacks of lazy thinking at best and racism at worst.