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Police knew grooming gangs were targeting Birmingham schools five years ago but did not alert public

In 2010 when the UAF and MCB were saying the gangs were "a racist myth", West Midlands Police was suppressing reports which confirmed the gangs were overwhelmingly Muslim and the victims overwhelmingly white schoolgirls.

From: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/police-knew-grooming-gangs-were-9518461

West Midlands Police knew five years ago that Asian grooming gangs were targeting children outside schools across the city - but failed to make the threat public.

Documents obtained by the Birmingham Mail show the force were aware pupils were at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE) back in 2010.

The confidential report, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act, also shows police were worried about community tensions if the abuse from predominantly Pakistani grooming gangs was made public.

The West Midlands Police document entitled Problem Profile, Operation Protection is from March 2010 and highlights how grooming had been directed specifically at schools and children’s homes.

In one heavily redacted passage, entitled ‘Schools’, it states: “In (redacted) a teacher at a (redacted) that a group of Asian males were approaching pupils at the school gate and grooming them. Strong anecdotal evidence shows this MO (modus operandi) is being used across the force.”

The Birmingham Mail is unaware of any police public appeals or warnings from that time.

The 2010 report also reveals children’s homes were being targeted by gangs who used victims to target other girls. It states: “Operations in other forces have identified an MO where offenders use a young girl in a children’s home to target and groom other residents on their behalf.

“This has also been evidenced within the force in (redacted) and (redacted). The girl’s motivation to recruit new victims is often that the provision of new girls provides her a way to escape the cycle of abuse.”

The 2010 report said police had identified a potential 139 victims, 78 per cent of whom were white while more than half were aged 13 to 15. Half of all victims lived within parental homes, while 41 per cent lived in care.

The report said of the 75 grooming suspects identified, a large proportion were from a Pakistani background and a significant proportion were likely to be from a Muslim background.

Almost half lived in Birmingham, with thirty per cent from east Birmingham.

The report said: “The vast majority of identified suspects (79 per cent) are Asian (59 of 75), 12 per cent are white and 5 per cent are African Caribbean. 62 per cent of Asian suspects are of Pakistani origin. Pakistani males account for half of all identified suspects in the force (37 of 75).”

The report added: “Offenders are likely to have a history of previous sexual offences, as well as a wide range of other offences and convictions.’’

Victims lived across the force area, on every local policing unit patch, including two clusters identified in Dudley and Walsall.

Multiple offenders were also involved in the abuse, the report said. “A high level of organised criminality has now been evidenced both across the force area and regionally, with multiple offenders working together to identify, groom and abuse victims.

“The organised nature is evidenced in many ways, for example by offenders targeting victims on multiple OCUs many miles from where the offenders live themselves, or in the number of offenders jointly abusing victims in specific offences.

“In a number of organised groups victims are forced into prostitution and high levels of intimidation and force are used to keep the victims compliant.”

In another heavily redacted section about grooming in Coventry the report said that an organised crime gang was ‘‘actively grooming and abusing victims across the force in Coventry hotel rooms.’’

The report also highlighted potential ‘community tensions’ which the CSE problems could lead to.

It said: “The predominant offender profile of Pakistani Muslim males... combined with the predominant victim profile of white females has the potential to cause significant community tensions.”

It added: “There is a potential for a backlash against the vast majority of law abiding citizens from Asian/Pakistani communities from other members of the community believing their children have been exploited.

“These factors, combined with an EDL protest in Dudley in April and a general election in May could notably increase community tension.

“Police will be criticised if it appears we have not safeguarded vulnerable children, investigated offences and prosecuted offenders.”

The conclusions of the report said that the authorities needed to improve its care of missing care home children and added: “There is strong evidence in the vast majority of all cases that the victims are enticed, stupefied or controlled by alcohol and a mixture of controlled drugs.

“The victims are already suffering from Health Conditions relating to their chaotic lifestyle and exploitation (Pregnancy, termination, STDs, neglect, and physical and psychological problems).

“There is evidence that victims are being moved between LPUs and other Forces, sometimes as a result of intervention by children’s services but also by offenders exploiting them. There are definite links to organised prostitution with 10 per cent of victims being linked through warnings, convictions or intelligence.”

In an October 2009 police report obtained by the Birmingham Mail, a lack of trust between police and social workers was highlighted and some of their unsympathetic attitudes to vulnerable runaways.

In April of 2009, three police command units had identified a series of sexual assaults on runaways from children’s homes across the city, but the offences were said to be difficult to tackle due to a lack of intelligence, lack of disclosure from victims and lack of a single agency approach and lack of cordination/co-operation between agencies.

Another police operation to tackle CSE at that time was said to be ineffective because of ‘historical/outdated intelligence’.

Other police command units had also developed investigations into CSE. In two investigations, victims and offenders were identified - but no prosecutions followed.

Contact Peter McLoughlin

Email pmclauth a t gmail . com


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