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Rochdale has exposed the horrors of political correctness

Yet another report has shown that grooming gangs were given a free pass because of ‘racial sensitivities’.

Rakib Ehsan

Rakib Ehsan
Columnist

Topics Politics UK

A new review into the authorities’ response to the grooming-gangs scandal in Rochdale, in the north-west of England, makes for depressing reading.

The report, published this week, is the third part of an independent review into the handling of child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester. Authors Malcolm Newsam and Gary Ridgway tell an all-too-familiar story of the callous indifference of local authorities, of the police’s failure to protect the most vulnerable and of a complete lack of accountability.

The report’s conclusion is damning. Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) failed to protect children and properly investigate multiple reported cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation between 2004 and 2013. And they did so despite warnings from courageous whistleblowers, such as former GMP detective Maggie Oliver and former NHS sexual-health-service coordinator Sara Rowbotham.

One of the most disturbing findings in the report is just how widespread the abuse was. The authors looked at two databases of at-risk children from the period in question. One database featured children believed to be at risk of sexual abuse and another featured children linked to suspected perpetrators. From a sample of 59 case files, the report concluded that there was a ‘significant probability’ that 45 individual children had been sexually exploited. Of these 45, the report said it could ‘only provide assurance that three children were appropriately protected by the statutory agencies’. It stated that there were ‘serious failures’ to protect the children in 37 cases it looked at.

From case files and other data, the report also identified at least 96 individuals who potentially pose a risk to children. Alarmingly, it admitted that they likely represent only a proportion of the total number of individuals who engaged in child sexual exploitation between 2004 and 2013.

The report touched on one of the main reasons for the police’s failure to investigate and tackle so many of the perpetrators. Many were of South Asian origin, often with Pakistani heritage, and the GMP were concerned that pushing their inquiries too far would offend racial sensitivities. To illustrate the problem, an experienced senior investigative officer (SIO) claims that, at the time, he had wanted traffic police to stop ‘any Pakistani-looking taxi driver’ carrying a lone underaged female passenger. The SIO told the report authors that not a single person was stopped. He says that GMP patrols were ‘frightened of being tarnished with a race brush for doing it’.

Since the report came out, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has called for disciplinary action to be taken against council officials and police officers who ‘failed in their duties’. This ought to be the bare minimum. Those whose primary duty, as public servants, should have been to protect the most vulnerable effectively turned a blind eye to child sexual exploitation. They must finally be held to account.

The lessons that must be learned from the Rochdale grooming-gangs scandal apply beyond Greater Manchester. The extent of organised child sex abuse ought to be a source of national shame. Local authorities across England have effectively given industrial-scale child abuse a green light. As a result, groups of wicked men have been free to exploit the most insecure young people, often in the care system, including some who suffer from disabilities.

Over and over again, those who should have done something did nothing. Public servants showed themselves to be more concerned with protecting their organisations’ and their own reputations than with protecting those in their care. And too many police on the front line were more worried about being accused of racism than with protecting the public. The report reveals that, in the worst cases, the police even indulged in victim-blaming, making ‘assumptions that these girls were troubled’, that they were ‘bringing it on themselves by their own behaviour’.

The institutional rot exposed by England’s grooming-gangs crisis runs deep. Many of our state agencies, infected by an indifference to public service and a socially corrosive identity politics, have fallen woefully short of what is expected of them. This needs to change, before even more vulnerable girls are sacrificed to political correctness.

Rakib Ehsan is the author of Beyond Grievance: What the Left Gets Wrong about Ethnic Minorities, which is available to order on Amazon.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics UK

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