More than 80,000 people signed an official petition demanding the release of a suppressed report on the ethnic background of grooming gangs over the weekend.
“The Government is refusing to release official research on the characteristics of grooming gangs, claiming it is not in the ‘public interest’,” the petition begins.
“We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the Government in full.”
Official petitions which break 10,000 signatures require an official response from the government — which has not yet been given — and petitions which break 100,000 signatures much be considered for a full parliamentary debate.
Wow, the petition to release the grooming gangs petition has gained massive traction. https://t.co/HB6gRoN909
— Jack Montgomery (@JackBMontgomery) March 9, 2020
Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid, as the petition reminds viewers, “promised the review as Home Secretary in July 2018, pledging that there would be ‘no no-go areas of inquiry'” and that he would “not let cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem and doing something about it”.
Shortly afterwards, however, the Home Office announced that it would be keeping the report “internal”, and has now officially refused a Freedom of Information request attempting to force its release — on grounds that this would not be “in the public interest” and undermine “the ‘safe space’ necessary for ministers and officials to consider policy options in private”.
Previous probes and independent reports have indicated that grooming gangs are comprised overwhelmingly of Muslim men, usually with roots in Pakistan, and their victims are overwhelmingly white working-class girls — although Sikhs and Hindus have also been targetted.
Home Office Bureaucrats Accused of Burying Report on Ethnicity of Grooming Gang Rapists https://t.co/yVU24WWNsl
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 7, 2020
The decision to suppress the review was reportedly a source of friction between Priti Patel, the current Home Secretary, and Sir Philip Rutnam, the former Permanent Secretary who served as the Home Office’s top bureaucrat until his dramatic resignation.
The decision was also met with outrage from many campaigners and members of the public, especially given the context of grooming gang abuse having been ignored by police and local government officials for decades — for fear taking action would cause tension with the Muslim community or lead to accusations of racism.
To the surprise of many, even Diane Abbott, the Labour party’s far-left Shadow Home Secretary, has called for the report to be released.
“There must be no more cover-ups around these horrific crimes and no more inaction from the government,” she said in comments reported by the Independent.
“Many of the girls will never recover from the abuse they suffered and they and their families deserve all the facts. This report should be published.”
Police Knew About Rotherham ‘Asian’ Rape Gangs But Ignored Them over Fears of ‘Racial Tensions’: Report https://t.co/WWDiOm3r3R
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 19, 2020