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Police should be held to account over grooming gang scandal, says magistrate

This is the police force who proclaimed in 2004 there were no grooming gangs. This is the police force who shut down their investigations in 2005. This is the police force who knew these gangs were raping young girls as far back as the early 1990s. We are now told that in 2008 police across England were ordered to treat the raped schoolgirls as consenting adults. Where did these orders come from? The government of the day was Labour, most of whose MPs rely on Muslim votes to win.


West Yorkshire Police has been asked whether any of its officers will be punished for failing to deal with child sexual exploitation in the Huddersfield area between 2004 and 2011.

Roger Grasby, a magistrate, put the question to Chief Constable Dee Collins and the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, at a meeting in Wakefield on Friday.

Mr Grasby said the behaviour of some officers towards victims had been strongly criticised by the Crown during the recent trial at Leeds Crown Court which led to jail sentences for a gang of 20 men, all British Asians mainly of Pakistani heritage.

The court heard that victims and their families repeatedly told police what was happening but it had fallen on deaf ears.

One girl said when she tried to tell two officers who took her to hospital after she was assaulted by one of her abusers they told her "you must have wanted it."

Mr Grasby, an independent member of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, told the panel at Wakefield Town Hall that the outcome of the trial had rested on the "strength and character of the victims".

He asked whether officers who had failed to take action would be "held to account".

After the meeting, Mr Grasby told ExaminerLive: "I want to know where these officers are and if they now hold senior positions within the Force."

He believes that officers who had "failed" victims will be held to account after the Chief Constable told the panel the matter was being looked at by the Force's Professional Standards Department.

Mr Grasby is also hopeful that an independent inquiry commissioned by Kirklees Council into what went wrong in the district would look in detail at the behaviour of police officers.

Responding to Mr Grasby's question, Mark Burns-Williamson said the independent review in Kirklees had yet to decide if the behaviour of officers would form part of the inquiry.

He said it was important to understand what had happened and to improve the Force's approach to dealing with child sexual exploitation and safeguarding.

"The main thing is to support victims and their families and bring perpetrators to justice."

Crime panel member Salma Arif, a Leeds councillor, said it was important for Asian communities to speak out about child sexual exploitation.

"It's a conversation that has to be done loudly, rather than quietly."

Mr Burns-Williamson said he had been visiting mosques and speaking with imams "to raise these exact issues".

Panel member Clr Amanda Carter asked how police could get into schools when faced with "protective head teachers" who "don't like people going into" their premises.

Mr Burns-Williamson admitted that it wasn't easy to gain access to schools.

"The fragmentation of the education system makes it harder to get into schools."

Mr Grasby said he wasn't convinced that lessons had been learned in West Yorkshire from the 2014 Jay inquiry into child exploitation in Rotherham.

"To many people in West Yorkshire it doesn't appear many lessons have been learned. Why should the public of West Yorkshire believe that things are different now?"

He added: "Can we provide compelling evidence that things are different? People are cynical that things really are different."

The Chief Constable told the panel that a number of police investigations into child exploitation were ongoing and lessons were being learned from each case.

She praised ExaminerLive for its coverage of recent cases, saying the paper had been "very helpful in raising awareness" of the cases and of the behaviour of the perpetrators.

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