Grooming Gang Leader Served as a Council Welfare Rights Officer While Raping Young Girls


The head of an infamous Pakistani child sex grooming gang has been revealed to have been serving as a welfare rights officer for the local government council, a major child sex abuse report has revealed.

Shabir Ahmed, who led the Muslim Rochdale child rape gang, has been identified as “Offender A” by Sky News in a child sexual exploitation in Oldham report this month, which showed that while he was abusing children, he was employed by the local Labour-run council. Despite the Greater Manchester Police force being aware of allegations against Ahmed and his position as a welfare officer for the council, the police force failed to notify the council.

The convicted paedophile, who was jailed for 22 years for preying on vulnerable girls in the Northern English city of Rochdale, and for raping a young Asian girl 30 times for over a decade, was also revealed to have been dispatched by the council to the Oldham Pakistani Community Centre, where he would have had access to young children.

The report stated that if police had informed his employers of the rape allegations “it may have potentially avoided the tragic abuse of other children.”

Though the report claimed to have found no evidence of a coverup, it said that “some children had been failed by the agencies that were meant to protect them because child protection procedures had not been properly followed.”

For instance, some girls who were being drugged and violently raped were told by social workers that they were “putting themselves at risk,” rather than being protected from their abusers.

The current leader of the Oldham Council, Amanda Chadderton, said: “We fully accept the findings of this independent report. It highlights clear failings, where our services at the time were not good enough to protect vulnerable young people suffering the most awful abuse.

“For that, I am deeply sorry… I do hope, however, to offer some reassurance that, as a council, we haven’t stood still since the time period the review refers to.”

As has been seen in previous reports, fears of stoking racial tensions among the Greater Manchester Police force was a persistent issue.

The ‘Messenger’ service, which was established in 2006 to safeguard children from sexual abuse through a partnership of the local council, social workers, the children’s charity Barnardos, and the Greater Manchester Police was shown to have downplayed the role of ethnicity in the mostly Muslim Pakistani rape gang epidemic in the area.

According to the report, a 2012 “media strategy” developed by the service “articulated a concern that there could be assumptions in the media and the public at large that child sexual exploitation was carried out by men from ethnic minorities against White girls, which could create community tensions, and that Oldham’s Asian community could feel it was disproportionally associated with child sexual exploitation.”

“There were also, throughout this period, legitimate concerns by both the council and the police that the high-profile convictions of predominantly Pakistani offenders across the country could be capitalised on by a far-right agenda and lead to the victimisation of the Pakistani community,” the report added.

Despite this, the report claimed that the local council had not shied away from highlighting the role of Pakistanis in the grooming gang abuse of young girls, highlighting a blog post from “Leader A” of the Oldham council in 2014 and 2015.

“Anyone who shies away from accepting that in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale and here in Oldham – and that this particular form of abuse is predominantly Pakistani men targeting white girls – is not helping the victims, and nor is it helping the Asian community at large,” a blog post from unnamed councillor stated.

The report also highlighted the case of Sophie (not her real name), who began being abused by “predatory males” at just 12-years-old. The report claimed that there were “at least” two occasions in which safeguarding procedures should have been initiated to protect the young girl.

Despite authorities having “sufficient information” to begin investigating a rape in 2006 by convicted paedophile Paul Waites, the girl was told to come back with an adult and when she “was not drunk” by a desk officer.

As she left the station she was picked up in a car by Sarwar Ali after she asked him for directions. Ali then took Sophie back to his house where he raped the young girl.

Then, a taxi driver who promised to help her out of the situation, Shakil Chowdhury, took her instead to a house where she was raped by him and four other men.

The report stated that if police officers had offered an appropriate response required to protect her” she would have been “spared the ordeal she was subsequently subjected to”.

Responding to the findings, Stephen Watson, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said: “I want to offer my sincere apologies to everyone affected by the events considered in the report.

“Our actions fell short of the help that they had every right to expect and were unacceptable. I am sorry for the hurt and ongoing trauma they have suffered because of what happened to them.

Former Greater Manchester Police detective turned grooming gang whistleblower, Maggie Oliver said: “Another day, yet another report about the failures of a police force to protect the most vulnerable in our society, even when there is irrefutable evidence to prosecute offenders and safeguard children.

“This report yet again clearly evidences catastrophic failings by the force and their repeated attempts to cover up and hide these failings both from the victims and from the public they serve, and that is extremely worrying.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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