There are fears that child sex abuse in Telford (left) is on the same scale as that discovered in Rotherham (right)
Police in the town of Telford, Shropshire have been strongly criticised for their lack of progress in dealing with widespread child sex abuse claims in what has been described by media as the “child sex capital of Britain.”
Officers have been accused of taking too long dealing with 150 pages-worth of abuse allegations, with some claims not taken seriously by authorities or erroneously dealt with, according to the Mirror.
One victim who spoke to the newspaper said they were passed around among a group of pedophiles and forced to sleep with numerous men.
“The police have betrayed the children of this town for a second time,” the unnamed victim said, adding they they wouldn’t be surprised “if the offending was on the same scale as Rotherham,” referencing the widespread child sexual abuse that took place in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013 involving around 1,400 children, some as young as 11.
The victim spoke out after it emerged local church volunteers, known as “street pastors,” had been passing on numerous reports of incidents witnessed in the town since 2013, following on from Operation Chalice, a police investigation in Telford which saw seven men jailed on charges of rape, trafficking and prostitution, sometimes involving girls as young as 13.
Since then, numerous incidents have been reported to police, including teenagers being sold drugs at underage discos as well as “gangs of older men” grooming drunk children.
It’s alleged these men would often park up at underage disco venues, take aways and other children or teen-centric venues, and then approach the minors, with some attempting to gain entry to underage discos.
The coordinator of the street pastors, Reverand Keith Osmund-Smith, says his team handed over information to police about the offenders but he is doubtful of whether they acted on it.
“In the early days, the reports went to a number of senior officers. Because it was going to so many people, no one was really taking responsibility for it,” Osmund-Smith told the Mirror.
“I was never quite sure the things we were reporting were resulting in any serious action. Our reports mainly related to drugs. It’s part of child sexual exploitation to get children hooked on drugs.”
Osmund-Smith says a number of street pastors have had to “walk girls away from cars containing adult males.”
For their part, West Mercia Police say the pastors’ reports have been acted on and do “point to potential signs of child sexual exploitation,” adding that a number of suspects have been identified. Authorities have also stopped the facilitation of underage discos in licensed premises as a child protection measure.
Police acknowledged that as a number of alleged crimes were not reported by the pastors as live incidents, they were not logged the same way a 999 or 101 call would have been.
According to figures from the Home Office, Telford has the highest child sex crime rate in Britain, with 15.1 child sex crimes reported per 10,000 residents in the year to September 2015.
The anonymous victim has called for a full-scale, “Rotherham-style inquiry” into the allegations.
“I never want any other girl to go through what I did,” she said. “I dread to think how many victims there have been over the years – it wouldn’t surprise me if the offending was on the same scale as Rotherham.” SOURCE
Police in Telford, Shropshire have been accused of failing to follow up a ‘Rotherham-style’ abuse scandal in the town.
In Rotherham around 1,400 girls, many of them under-age, were sexually abused over a 16 year period at the hands of men from the town’s Pakistani community.
Professor Alexis Jay, who led the inquiry into the Rotherham scandal, said girls as young as 11 were raped, tortured and even sold to other men.
Telford, has a population of 155,000 and it is feared there could be 225 victims
Now the Daily Mirror claims to have unearthed a similar child sex ring in the Midlands.
It says reports of grooming in Telford were inputted into police computers wrongly and played down despite an earlier probe that led to seven men being jailed in 2012.
This year, four men from one family and two women were jailed for a total of 104 years for sex crimes.
One victim, who was targeted by paedophiles and forced to sleep with dozens of men, said: ‘The police have betrayed the children of this town for a second time.
Arshid Hussain (in a wheelchair, being pushed by a relative) arriving at his trial at Crown Court. Hussain, one of the ringleaders of the Rotherham abuse scandal, was jailed for 35 years earlier this year
‘I dread to think how many victims there have been over the years – it wouldn’t surprise me if the offending was on the same scale as Rotherham.
‘It has been going on for at least two decades. When will it stop?’
West Mercia Police have admitted errors were made in the way detailed reports had from street pastors on night patrol had been handled by police.
Some of the street pastors had witnessed teenagers being sold drugs at under-age parties and gangs of men grooming intoxicated children.
‘It has been going on for at least two decades. When will it stop?’
We attended discos in licensed premises on several occasions and witnessed older men circling the venue in cars.
We also saw three men in their 20s attempt to gain entry to one venue.
They sped off after spotting the street pastors, who alerted police immediately.
The victim added: ‘Child safety should be the most important thing and we feel let down by the way evidence has been treated. It is clear there is still a culture of exploitation.’
The Reverend Keith Osmund-Smith, who coordinates the street pastor scheme in the town, said: ‘I was never quite sure the things we were reporting were resulting in any serious action. Our reports mainly related to drugs.
‘It’s part of child sexual exploitation to get children hooked on drugs. We have also walked girls away from cars containing adult males.’
Police said 100 girls could have become victims in Telford between 2007 and 2009.
Home Office figures show there were 15.1 child sex crimes reported per 10,000 residents in the year to September 2015.
Telford’s population is 155,000 – meaning a potential 225 victims.
Supt Tom Harding, of West Mercia Police, said communication had improved dramatically in recent years.
He added: ‘Incidents identified by pastors point to potential signs of child sexual exploitation and we use this as intelligence, to target individuals who may need to be investigated.’
- Telford dubbed ‘child sex abuse capital’ after police accused of sitting on massive 150-page pile of allegations
- ‘Child sex capital of Britain’: Police accused of failing to act on 150