West Yorkshire abuse victims interviewed in 'cold' and 'shocking' conditions

Potential child sex abuse victims are being interviewed by police in "cold" and "blank" rooms, it's been claimed.

Wakefield councillor Kathy Scott said she was "shocked" by the conditions in which youngsters are questioned about crimes allegedly committed against them, after a visit to a police station.

West Yorkshire Police said they welcomed feedback and that their first priority for victims was achieving justice for them.

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Coun Scott made her comments after elected members were shown around Havertop Police Station, between Normanton and Featherstone, to see how investigations are carried out.

West Yorkshire Police said interview conditions had to be "sterile" to help preserve evidence.

Speaking at a children and young people scrutiny committee, she said: "As we went into the interview rooms, I couldn't believe it.

"Our first thoughts were, if as adults we were victims, we wouldn’t have liked to have been interviewed in one of those rooms.

"Everyone commented on it. There were just a couple of chairs and a cabinet in the corner of the room.

"It was just so cold, blank and empty.

West Yorkshire Police

"It was quite distressing to see it and think children who are victims might be interviewed in here."

"It was absolutely shocking. They were just so uninviting."

Councillors said they would raise the matter with the force and the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Detective chief inspector Fran Naughton of Wakefield District Police, said: "Child sexual exploitation is a terrible offence and our first priority for our highly trained specialist investigators is achieving justice for victims.

"That is why we work in partnership with agencies including Wakefield Council to achieve the best possible outcome for victims.

"We recognise that our interview rooms are perhaps not as welcoming as victims might want them to be but sometimes we have to have ‘sterile’ rooms like this to help preserve vital evidence to help get the justice everyone wants.

"We welcome any feedback that can improve the service we provide to victims."