The Daily Mail yesterday reported on comments made by the Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, to the Home Affairs select committee inquiry into ‘Localised child grooming’ headlining the article ‘Don’t let PC brigade bury ethnic links to sex gangs, warns children’s minister’.
Loughton, according to the Daily Mail, said that “political correctness around ethnicity” must not get in the way of police tackling the sexual abuse of children, and that in certain ‘closed communities’, people know about this abuse but are “less inclined or feel threatened about coming forward and reporting it to the authorities”.
From the Daily Mail:
“Social workers and the police must not let political correctness get in the way of investigating the grooming of vulnerable children, a minister said yesterday.
“Tim Loughton said ‘ethnicity’ had been a factor in the scandal of recent cases involving gangs of mostly Asian men grooming and abusing young girls.
“And he warned that many more cases are yet to be heard – with thousands of alleged sex abuse victims across the country.
“The Children’s Minister said members of some ‘closed communities’ had been reluctant to come forward and report organised sex attacks.
“As a result, these were allowed to take place ‘under the radar’ for many years, he said.
“Workers and police must not let political correctness get in the way of investigating child sex abuse, a minister said yesterday.
“He told MPs: ‘If there is some form of political correctness around ethnicity which is getting in the way of police and other agencies investigating, tracking down and nailing these perpetrators, then that needs to be removed and we need to do something about it.’
“A report published yesterday by the Children’s Commissioner said councils were dumping children in care homes in parts of the country that were also centres for paedophiles, rapists and criminal gangs.
“As a result, many experienced ‘truly horrific’ levels of violence, sadism and exploitation. Mr Loughton told the Home Affairs Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the child sex abuse scandal, that some communities – while not condoning abuse – had been slow to report offences to the police.
“Asked if there was evidence of ethnicity being a factor in child exploitation, he replied: ‘Yes, and it is no good pretending otherwise.’
“Mr Loughton said the majority of child sex offenders in jail are ‘white middle-aged men whose method of choice might be grooming over the internet’.
“But he added: ‘What we have seen in high-profile cases in Derby and Rochdale, and other cases still to come fully to court, is that there is a problem around, in most cases, British Pakistani men – there are a few cases of Afghan and Bangladeshi men involved – who, operating in gangs, are preying on mostly teenage white girls.
“‘Not exclusively, but that has been a pattern we have seen in high-profile cases.’ He added: ‘I know that in certain more closed communities, people who know about this form of abuse are less inclined or feel threatened about coming forward and reporting it to the authorities.
“‘The point the Government is making absolutely clear is that we have got to make sure that the police and social services and other enforcement agencies are using the right tools to nail these perpetrators, regardless of their culture or ethnicity.”
Contrast the Daily Mail’s report on the evidence given by the Children’s Minister to the report in a local paper, the Huddersfield Examiner, on the work undertaken by West Yorkshire Police to pursue those involved in the criminal exploitation of young girls for sex.
Last week, the chief constable for West Yorkshire Police, Sir Norman Bettison, met with Muslim community leaders to discuss the issue stating that “West Yorkshire Police is in the vanguard of being determined to ruthlessly pursue anyone who is committing criminal exploitation and bring them before the courts”- not the likely words of someone who would allow political correctness get in the way of tackling sexual exploitation. Bettison maintained that sexual exploitation is “not a faith or a race issue”, and iterated his belief that “there is a problem that is very widespread, not just in Yorkshire, not just within the Muslim or Asian community, but there are girls who are vulnerable and those vulnerabilities are more and more often these days exploited.” His views are supported by, amongst others, the Assistant Chief Constable for Greater Manchester Police, Steve Heywood, who said that race was a coincidence and not a motivating factor in the Rochdale sex-grooming trials
Indeed, Keith Vaz MP, chair of the Home Affairs select committee, in opening the inquiry on localized child grooming, said “The Committee were shocked to hear that the number of victims of child sexual exploitation runs into the thousands. Child grooming is clearly not an issue relating to one northern town but a national issue that requires thorough investigation.”
The Daily Mail’s failure to report on this key development in the region where the Rochdale case sparked such controversy, points to an attempt to push the idea amongst its readers that ‘culture’ is the issue. Not so surprising given the article by Melanie Phillips claiming the Rochdale cases were the product of an ‘unwesternised Islamic culture’.
It is precisely this sort of media output, playing on the themes of political correctness inhibiting police and prosecutors from pursuing those engaged in criminal exploitation, that has allowed the BNP and EDL to capitalize on ‘ethnicity’ as a key factor in these crimes. In its most recent newsletter, the BNP claims that “paedophilic sexual predation against Unbelievers is part and parcel of Islam” and that “they should be pointing out that theirs is not an ‘Asian’ crime – Sikh and Hindu girls are targets too – it is a MUSLIM one. Only when these things are done can the problem really be dealt with for good.”
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