Martin Evans, Telegraph, June 25, 2015
A report detailing how gangs of Asian men in Birmingham were grooming school girls with alcohol and drugs was not made public after senior officers warned that such information could inflame racial tensions ahead of the 2010 General Election.
West Midlands Police were warned that more than 100 predominantly white school children–some as young as 13–were at serious risk of child exploitation, with abusers approaching pupils at the school gates.
Police said they had identified 75 suspects, most boasting a history of sexual violence and most of whom came from the Pakistani community in Birmingham.
But they warned that making the information public could inflame racial tensions particularly ahead of the 2010 General Election, which was due to take place several weeks later.
The report, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act, but was redacted, identified one school where teachers had brought the problem to the police’s attention.
It said officers had identified almost 140 potential victims some as young as 13, who were being plied with drugs and alcohol and then sexually abused and raped.
But the police report, which was shared with social services and other agencies at the time, stated: “The predominant offender profile of Pakistani Muslim males . . . combined with the predominant victim profile of white females has the potential to cause significant community tensions.
“There is a potential for a backlash against the vast majority of law abiding citizens from Asian/Pakistani communities from other members of the community believing their children have been exploited.
“These factors, combined with an EDL [English Defence League] protest in Dudley in April and a General Election in May could notably increase community tension.
“Police will be criticised if it appears we have not safeguarded vulnerable children, investigated offences and prosecuted offenders.”
A West Midlands Police source said while the report was not made public at the time, this did not mean the crimes were not investigated.
A spokesman for the Force said: “As the reports show, the force has worked for a number of years to disrupt and bring to justice those involved in child sexual exploitation.
“As early as 2009 there were significant policing investigations and operations in place to protect young females considered to be at risk. Where a conviction could not be obtained other measures were taken, and this partnership action continues today.”
West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said: “These reports, spanning six years, give a real insight into the journey we have undertaken along with our partners into investigating and tackling child sexual exploitation.
“There is no doubt that there has been a significant cultural change within the force in respect of this issue and it is now very clear that the responsibility of tackling CSE (child sexual exploitation) lies with every police officer, staff member, PCSO and special constable.
“The force has carried out extensive work to train officers across the force in how to identify and deal with CSE so we can gain as much intelligence as possible and thereby improving the outcomes for victims.”