The number of known child sex abuse victims of grooming gangs in Rotherham has risen to more than 1,500. Professor Alexis Jay’s report in 2014 had identified only 1,400. National Crime Agency (NCA) detectives revealed the updated figure last week in a briefing on Operation Stovewood, the investigation into child sexual exploitation over a 16-year period in the South Yorkshire town. Their investigation is still incomplete.
However, Rotherham Social Services, so roundly condemned by Professor Jay, are now the recipients of praise. Their children’s services have been transformed, says Ofsted. Yet the chief of children’s services still denies that race, let alone religion or culture, had anything to do with Rotherham’s terrible betrayal of these girls. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘In terms of CSE (child sex exploitation), and the race dimension around CSE, no race has the monopoly.’
The police have arrested 110 men in Rotherham. Of these, 18 have been charged, two cautioned and four convicted and jailed. Thirty-four investigations are continuing under the Operation Stovewood umbrella, and six trials will take place later this year. Will the newly sanitised Rotherham Social Services be featuring in any of these?
Across the UK only 317 people have been convicted in connection with organised grooming and sexual abuse crimes. Other towns and cities involved include Keighley, Blackpool, Oldham, Blackburn, Sheffield, Manchester, Skipton, Rochdale, Nelson, Preston, Derby, Telford, Bradford, Ipswich, Birmingham, Oxford, Barking and Peterborough.
The huge number of victims in Rotherham raises the question of how many there really are elsewhere, and how many more rapists continue to evade justice? In Rotherham, the National Crime Agency believes there are still ‘a handful’ of high-risk abusers at large. Operation Sanctuary in Newcastle is continuing to investigate grooming and sexual abuse against 700 girls, and a report by barrister David Spicer into the operation concludes that the grooming of girls for sexual exploitation is still rife in the UK today. How is this still happening?
Such gangs may have been operating in the UK since the 1980s, according to Peter McLoughlin in his book Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal.
His account makes the term ‘grooming’ seem a misnomer. What he describes is grooming, pimping and rape. He tells how the girls – mainly white, but some from the Sikh community as well – are groomed by older men pretending to be a boyfriend until they become dependent on their ‘handler’ either emotionally or through drug addiction. They are then pimped out many times a day, and threatened with violence if they try to leave. Examples include an instance of a girl having a kettle of boiling water held over her head, and another girl’s tongue being nailed to a desk.
Sentencing nine men in 2012 for such offences in Rochdale, Judge Gerald Clifton told the defendants they had treated their victims ‘as though they were worthless and beyond all respect’, adding: ‘I believe that one of the factors that led to that was that they were not of your community or religion.’ Fact-checking exercises confirm this conclusion.
The distinction between Pakistani grooming gangs, exploiting vulnerable white girls, and white paedophile rings (characterised by their longstanding sexual interest in children) has been established, for example, in a report by the Quilliam Foundation. Despite this, Britain’s top female police officer continues to obfuscate the problem by not acknowledging the racial aspect of these gangs.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was asked at a recent meeting of the London Assembly if she was concerned that the Met was sitting on a Rotherham-style grooming gang epidemic in the capital. She replied that she did not accept the characterisation that offenders were mainly Asian or Muslim men, but that this type of problem has been ‘going on for centuries’.
Not like this. Not on this scale, and not without the willingness of authorities to tackle it.
It is a sensitive issue and no doubt police-community relations are a top priority for Cressida Dick. But putting multicultural niceties before effective crime prevention will not win the respect or authority the police need, whatever the race, colour or creed of the community, group or individual they are investigating.
The worry is that such muddying of the waters impedes proper investigation, and it may explain why, so many years later, so many cases are still open.
It is telling, too, that last year, when Rotherham’s Labour MP Sarah Champion came out with it and said that race was a factor in the town’s grooming scandal, she was forced to resign from the Labour front bench. She was roundly criticised by Labour colleagues, including Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, who also re-tweeted the advice that the Rotherham abuse victims should ‘shut their mouths’ for the good of diversity.
Such prioritising is endemic in the Left. Multiculturalism is a given good; its moral relativism suits the Leftist agenda. Any higher principle such as truth or equality before the law, or opinions or thoughts which burst the precious bubble of their own prejudices, are shot down or denied.
If they and their fellow travellers spent as much energy on preventing real crime as they have in trying to prevent ‘politically incorrect narratives’, then the Rotherham nightmare and all the other child grooming scandals might now be history.