The Metropolitan Police force “could be sitting on a Rotherham-style sexual grooming gang situation”, a London Assembly Member has claimed.
The accusation, from UKIP group leader Peter Whittle, comes as a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services reveals that Scotland Yard failed to properly handle 90 per cent of recent child protection cases.
Earlier this month, the Met’s most senior officer responded to concerns by claiming grooming gangs had been part of British society for “centuries”.
According to The Times, the UK’s largest police force is now worse at helping and protecting children at risk of sexual exploitation and rape than it was a year ago.
Inspectors reviewed a random sample of 135 cases in November concerning various types of abuse, including possible child sexual exploitation, missing children, and domestic abuse.
Almost 93 per cent were said to be “inadequate or required improvement” and there was a “disappointing quality of investigations and outcomes,” as well as 18 cases that were sent back to the force for further investigation, the report found.
“The number of weaknesses uncovered in too many of the cases examined in this quarter continues to reflect those which we reported in 2016,” the inspection said.
Mr. Whittle responded to the report on Facebook by claiming there is “growing concern that the Met could be sitting on a Rotherham-style sexual grooming gang situation”.
He had questioned the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force, Cressida Dick, about the issue on December 13th, when she claimed that grooming gangs had existed for hundreds of years.
She also refused to accept Mr. Whittle’s “characterisation” of the problem as mainly Asian and Muslim men targeting white girls, despite research finding 84 per cent of grooming gang members to be “Asian”.
“The fact is, that to say ‘I don’t recognise the situation,’ and to somehow smooth it over, is what led, commissioner, to thousands of young girls being shockingly abused over about 20 years at least,” Mr. Whittle argued.
After the first grooming gang prosecutions in Rochdale and the government’s Casey Report into the Rotherham scandal, a “culture of silence” and political correctness were blamed for the police inaction on the issue.
“If the boot were on the other foot… and this were groups of white men abusing specifically Muslim young girls, this would be treated probably as a hate crime,” Mr. Whittle added, asking:
“So, why are you not taking on board what is obviously factually reported every day?”
Another grooming gang revealed https://t.co/bxD2Zv8lbv
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 11, 2017
The commissioner also mentioned a recent case in Stratford, East London, and said that evidence “suggested” that children were being “groomed out of particular locations”.
Some children in the capital were being “encouraged to get into criminality and sexual relationships through sweets and offers of this and that and the other” she added.
She said the problem was growing, but attributed the increase in cases to “raised awareness” and better reporting of the grooming crimes.
“I don’t think this was a phenomenon invented in the last few years – it really wasn’t – it has been part of our society for probably centuries and centuries and centuries,” she claimed.