The Serious Case Review ordered because of the Bullfinch scandal was always going to be damning. How could it be otherwise, given the level of depravity, and the scale of the sadistic grooming, rape, torture and sale of young girls into prostitution that was allowed to go unchecked in our city over 16 years?

The review, for the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, provides some sickening details based on experiences of the six vulnerable white girls, and the treatment that saw seven men, all from a Muslim background, jailed for a minimum of 95 years.

Of course, the horror – though by no means the full horror – of their experiences filled our pages week after week during the Bullfinch trial.

But the case review still did manage to present the shocking news that in addition to those six girls, another group of 370 girls had been identified as possible victims of exploitation.

Other than that, the review, so eagerly awaited and so carefully scrutinised and commented upon, seems to have uncovered little, leaving questions unanswered for the victims. 

Missed opportunities, failure to understand, weak systems and lack of curiosity are among “the damning” conclusions of the report’s author Alan Bedford – charges that have hardly resulted in mass resignations from the police or at Oxfordshire County Council

Some professionals, it seems, had simply become used to knowing underage girls were having sex with men. Others did not look hard enough.

The report is scattered with comforting phrases for the police and County Hall. There were heavy caseloads, many factors were not unique to Oxfordshire and there is no evidence of wilful neglect.
Nor is there evidence that the race and ethnic background of the abusers stopped the professionals from identifying these sex fiends earlier: the implication being non-Muslim white abusers or any other group of wicked men would have got away with these crimes just as successfully.

But at least no political correctness to worry about, some relief.
The truth is that this review was never going to hold individuals to account.

It was not a proper inquiry, which has brought frustration not comfort for the victims and their families. 
To borrow the assessment of Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, by blaming everyone, no one is blamed.
But for all the references to systems and processes, it was an individual who sent the bleeding girl packing from the police station in the early hours of the morning. It was an individual officer who sniggered on hearing an horrific story of distress and we assume a very significant number of individuals who dismissed distraught parents in torment, for let no one forget the six girls were reported missing around 500 times.

The authorities did not just walk on by, as Mr Cameron suggests, they heartlessly showed bleeding, bruised and frightened girls the door.

Question about disciplinary action produced only evasive answers all week from the county council leader and the chief constable of Thames Valley Police. As far as we can discover no one had been disciplined, never mind dismissed. At the top level many of the most senior figures have already departed: director of social services, director of children and families, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council. Chief Constable Sara Thornton is soon to leave , while Joanna Simons had looked destined to walk away with a £600,000 pay off until legal advice brought her departure to a halt.

We have belatedly Thames Valley Police referring themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Oxfordshire County Council to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for further investigation.

Ultimately the Serious Case Review did not deliver what public interest and redress for victims demands: that those responsible for failings are held to account.
Only a proper public inquiry, not a halfway house, will achieve this.