Priti Patel orders national inspection into police handling of CSE cases with Bradford 'inadequacies' cited

Priti Patel has commissioned a new investigation into how the police handle child sexual exploitation crimes nationally - with the Home Office highlighting failures in Bradford as one of the reasons for setting up the inspection.

The Home Secretary has commissioned Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services to inspect the police response to CSE.

The Home Office said the work follows the recent Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report into CSE by grooming gangs and “a number of other reviews in local areas such as the Bradford district, which have highlighted inadequacies in past responses to this horrific crime”.

An independent review of five cases in the Bradford district since 2001 published last summer found some children in the area remain at risk.

Priti Patel has ordered a review of how police forces conduct investigations into alleged child sexual exploitation offences.

Conservative MP for Keighley Robbie Moore has been calling for a wider independent inquiry, similar to the one run by Professor Alexis Jay in Rotherham, to be launched by Bradford Council.

Last month the IICSA, which is chaired by Professor Jay, warned that “extensive failures” by local authorities and police forces across the country mean they are struggling to keep pace with the changing nature of sexual exploitation of children by criminal networks with the issue affecting “all parts” of England and Wales.

The new national inspection commissioned by Ms Patel will assess current policing practice in this area across England and Wales and the Home Office has said it will include the effectiveness of police assessments of the nature and scale of offending in their area; the attitudes of police towards victims and the nature, adequacy and timeliness of responses.

Ms Patel said: “Victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation have told me how they have been failed by the state in the name of political correctness.

“We need to understand how the police interacted with local schools, healthcare providers, children’s services and other arms of the state and pertinent questions will need to be asked to ensure that previous failings are not repeated.

“Although I believe the policing response to these issues has evolved, I want to ensure current practice is relentless in protecting children, supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice, which is why I am requesting this inspection.”

The Home Office said the inspection “will ensure learning from past mistakes is being applied by police forces across the country, so that they can respond effectively to all victims and bring more offenders to justice”.

Moore still wants Rotherham-style inquiry

MP Robbie Moore has welcomed the new inspection but said a Rotherham-style inquiry for Bradford is still required.

He said: “Since being elected, I have on many occasions raised my deep concerns regarding child sexual exploitation and grooming gangs which have haunted our community for far too long, and still do. I have spoken with the Home Secretary and Home Office Ministers on countless occasions to make sure we finally do something about this atrocious crime, and that where failings have been identified we get to the bottom of this so that we can best protect victims and their families.

“There can be no denying that this horrific crime happens under everyone’s noses in our area. There has been identified failings within West Yorkshire Police and at Bradford Council in how they have dealt with such cases.

“This is an extremely difficult issue, but unless we talk openly and honestly about it, we are failing. As I have expressed to the Home Secretary, we need to ensure current practice is relentless in protecting children, supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.”

Mr Moore said he had been repeatedly told by CSE victims that they have been failed “in the name of political correctness” and called for the inspection to examine factors such as the ethnicity of perpetrators.

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