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Authorities cannot get complacent in fight against child sex groomers, senior Bradford councillor warns

Bradford was Ground Zero for this epidemic of rape by Muslims. First known there by authorities in 1991, and 25 years later the local government refuse to allow an Inquiry, even though the mothers of victims have been demanding it.

COUNCIL bosses will meet to discuss whether enough progress is being made in clamping down on child grooming and exploitation.

The authority and its partners have set out a nine-point plan for tackling the issue and its Executive will meet next week to see what improvements have been made.

The plan includes investigating historic sex abuse, working with teenage boys to tackle unacceptable attitudes towards women and cutting off the opportunities for criminals to abuse young people.

Deputy council leader, Councillor Val Slater, said the council and its partners, such as the police, had made a lot of progress on safeguarding children, but they could not be complacent.

She said: “We have to be vigilant because these paedophiles - and that’s what they are - are very clever in coming up with new ways of grooming young people.”

Cllr Slater said the threat was diverse, from grooming gangs and friends or family members to paedophiles targeting children online from anywhere in the world.

She said: “By the nature of paedophiles, people have a tendency to group together to share information, to share pictures and also to share children and that is disgraceful.

“We can’t take our eye off the ball but I think we are doing a pretty good job.

“However, we have got a lot of messages to get out there.”

Cllr Slater said a lot of work had been done to educate people in the hotel and taxi trade about spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation, but she now wanted that message spread to the wider population.

The report going before the Executive on September 20 says that there were 531 sexual offences against under-18s committed in Bradford in 2015-16.

That year, the district’s CSE hub dealt with 713 cases.

Around one in five victims were boys.

Of offenders or suspects, most, but not all, were male. Forty-eight per cent were Asian, 36 per cent were white and 12 per cent did not have their ethnicity recorded.

Bradford Moor was named as the ward with the highest risk of child exploitation, followed by Keighley West and Tong.

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Contact Peter McLoughlin

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