Bradford Council REFUSE to order inquiry into child sex abuse

The leader of Bradford Council said it will not order a local inquiry into child sexual abuse in the district, despite mounting pressure from MPs.

Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley and Ilkley, has been calling on the council to set up an inquiry, similar to the one led by Professor Alexis Jay in Rotherham in 2014.

During a debate on the matter last week, several Tory MPs backed his campaign.

Home Office Minister Rachel Maclean said councils are responsible for ordering local inquiries and they have a “moral responsibility to do the right thing” and protect innocent children.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said a local inquiry is not necessary and the council is working to review and improve its response to the sexual exploitation of children.

She said: “All public services are stretched and we have to focus on what the minister highlighted as the absolute priority which is front-line protection of children now.

“For historic crimes, it doesn’t matter when or who perpetrated the crime, they will be caught and they will be punished. Arrests, prosecutions and imprisonments have resulted already and this work continues.”

The Labour politician also said the council has commissioned 57 reports on child sexual exploitation in the Bradford district over the last six years and referred itself to the Government’s national inquiry on the issue.

Councillor Hinchcliffe said: “We know that in the past agencies let children down. Those children should have been protected but weren’t.

“In the debate, Government acknowledged that this was a national failing, not just a local one.”

An independent review, which looked into the sexual abuse suffered by five children in Bradford over 17 years and the response of the council, police and other agencies, was published by the Bradford Partnership in July.

The review states the response of some agencies is “not yet good enough” and “some children remain unprotected while some perpetrators remain unknown and unchallenged”.

Mr Moore said the “light and limited” review “reflects only the tip of the iceberg of what has been going on”, when he spoke during the debate in Parliament on Tuesday.

He also said a “small minority of largely Pakistani Muslim men” have been abusing children in Bradford “for far too long” and “nothing has really changed” since his Labour predecessor Ann Cryer raised concerns about grooming gangs over 20 years ago.

“We know that young children remain at risk. It is about time that we tackled these horrific, vile and criminal activities once and for all,” he added.

Conservatives Philip Davies, MP for Shipley, and Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, backed calls for an inquiry and accused the council and West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin of failing to take decisive action.

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