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Police investigating 220 child sex grooming cases in Keighley and Bradford

10 years ago, following the furore around Channel 4's "Edge of the City", West Yorkshire Police said there was no evidence of grooming gangs there.

POLICE are currently investigating 220 alleged cases of child sex grooming in Keighley and across Bradford district.

Police this week revealed exclusively to the Keighley News that the cases involve 261 suspects and 188 victims.

The figures were obtained by the Keighley News after the town's former MP, Ann Cryer, spoke about how the battle must go on to bring perpetrators of the vile crime to justice.

Mrs Cryer suffered verbal abuse and was accused of 'demonising' the Asian community when she began a campaign more than a decade ago to get the authorities to tackle child sex grooming in Keighley.

Her fight, sparked by an approach from a group of mothers whose young daughters were being targeted, led to a change in law, which made grooming for sex a criminal offence and allowed parents to give evidence in court.

Earlier this year, 12 men were locked-up for a total of more than 143 years after being convicted of raping or abusing a teenage girl in Keighley.

This week, police vowed to continue doing everything they could to stamp out the crime.

And they urge any victims, who have not previously come forward, to contact them.

"We are committed to working with partner agencies in tackling this abhorrent crime and making every effort to provide support to victims," said Detective Superintendent Jonathan Morgan, of Bradford District Police.

"All reports of child sexual exploitation are taken seriously and are investigated sensitively and thoroughly by our specially trained officers.

"We have made significant steps forward in tackling this issue in recent years, with the development of strong partnerships across West Yorkshire.

"We would continue to urge victims, who have not yet spoken out, to come forward and engage with us, so we can protect them from further harm and bring perpetrators to justice."

A first-ever concerted week of action against grooming was held in Keighley in March, and was a huge success.

The event, co-ordinated by the Racial Justice Network based at Keighley & Ilkley Voluntary and Community Action, aimed to show how the wider community could play a part in tackling the issue.

There were special assemblies in schools, public information stands at the Airedale Shopping Centre, a session at Keighley College about online sexual grooming and a sermon at the Shah Jalal Mosque.

A United Keighley pledge against child sexual exploitation has also gained widespread support

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