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Child sex grooming referrals set to reach record high in Bradford

But Bradford councils, charities, MPs see no reason for Bradford to have any kind of Inquiry. Even though Bradford was already an epicentre for this kind of abuse by the early 1990s.


THE number of cases of suspected child sex exploitation reported in Bradford is expected to reach a record high this year.

But a safeguarding expert believes this is because more people are now confident in coming forward to report grooming to the authorities.

A new report into the work of the specialist Bradford CSE Hub reveals the current levels of grooming in the district.

It predicts that by the end of the 2016/17 financial year there will have been 892 referrals made to the hub, up from 713 the previous year - a 25 per cent rise.

The report, to be discussed by Bradford Council’s children’s servicess scrutiny committee on February 14, says that on average there have been 74 referrals to the hub each month and as of January the running total for 2016/17 had already reached 670.

A referral is made when the hub is given information that a child may be being exploited.

The new report says that awareness of the signs of CSE seems to be increasing - pointing to the fact that the number of monthly referrals doubled following Safeguarding Week in October.

The latest figures from the hub, made up of representatives from the Council, police and children’s charities, show that between January and December 2016 there were 609 sexual offences committed against under 18s in the district.

A fifth of these (122) were classed as CSE crimes, and of these 70 are still under investigation by police. In 77 of these cases a suspect has been identified, and there are a total of 84 suspects.

Eighty five per cent are under the age of 36, 46 per cent are white, and 32 per cent are Asian.

The ethnicity of children open to the CSE Hub shows that 67 per cent are White, 16 per cent are Asian and seven per cent are mixed heritage.

The committee will also be told that West Yorkshire Police’s Historic Case Unit is currently involved in 13 “complex historic investigations” that have led to 50 suspects being arrested. 25 are on police bail and several cases are being reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service.”

The unit has identified 139 people as “potential” victims of historic CSE abuse.

The Nightwatch Initiative, run by charity Barnardos, has, according to the report, helped train 3,400 cab drivers in recognising CSE as well as helping provide training in hotels “posing a significant risk” of allowing CSE to take place.

David Niven, independent chairman of the Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, said the increase in referrals shows more people are recognising the signs of grooming.

He said: “I also think that people trust the authorities a lot more now than they used to. Police and social workers are now much more sophisticated in how they treat victims and are more likely to believe their stories.

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