The region’s largest police force is investigating more than 1,000 cases linked to suspected child sexual abuse, according to new figures.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveals that the force is looking into 1,198 allegations. These investigations relate to 17 different types of offence.
The figures cannot be compared to other forces in the region as each responded differently to the request, which was made by LBC Radio in London.
South Yorkshire Police said that as of September it had 440 active cases involving child sexual abuse. However it is understood this figure relates to fewer categories of crime than the figure provided by West Yorkshire.
Both Humberside and North Yorkshire Police, which were also the subject of the FOI request, did not respond. Humberside Police said yesterday that because there wasn’t a specific Home Office category for child sex abuse cases, definitive figures “could not be easily produced.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said crimes relating to the sexual abuse were taken particularly seriously by the force. He added: “Specially selected and trained officers are responsible for the investigation of these offences and are situated either in District Safeguarding Units or with Protective Services (Crime), a specialist department which deals with the most complex rape investigations.”
The figures come comes as Humberside Police launches an awareness-raising campaign against child sexual exploitation, which points out that 80 per cent of crimes are committed by white men acting alone. It launches in Goole today, and in Hull and Bridlington on Monday.
Chief Constable Justine Curran said: “It is important to put stereotypes out of our minds. Both adult men and women of varying ages engage in this type of offending. There has been a lot of media coverage recently on gangs of Asian men engaged in this type of activity in other areas of the country.
“Although we must confront and be open about that particular issue, the fact that it hits the headlines does not mean it is the most common form of abuse, or that it is all we should focus on.”