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Over 550 suspected child predators arrested and 4,000 potential victims protected | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


More than 550 suspected child predators have been arrested thanks to a specialist grooming gangs unit launched by Rishi Sunak.

A year after a new taskforce was set up by the Prime Minister to tackle ‘evil’ abusers and the political correctness which has let them proliferate, it has also protected more than 4,000 potential victims, the Home Office revealed last night.

The crackdown follows scandals in which the organised sexual exploitation of thousands of children in towns including Rotherham, Telford and Rochdale went unchecked – in some cases because officials feared being branded racist or fuelling the far Right.

Experts were hired to track suspects down using ‘cutting-edge intelligence’, including their ethnicity details, Downing Street said at the time, to make sure they cannot ‘evade justice because of cultural sensitivities’.

Launching the Grooming Gangs Taskforce last year, Mr Sunak said: ‘The safety of women and girls is paramount.

Home Secretary James Cleverly during a visit to Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford yesterday
On a visit to Essex Police Headquarters yesterday, Home Secretary James Cleverly (Pictured with Detective Sergeant Gavin Tuck) revealed its work had so far contributed to more than 550 arrests
Launching the Grooming Gangs Taskforce last year, Rishi Sunak said: ‘The safety of women and girls is paramount’

‘For too long, political correctness has stopped us from weeding out vile criminals who prey on children and young women.

‘We will stop at nothing to stamp out these dangerous gangs.’ More than 400 police officers across the country have now been specially trained by the taskforce, with more set to be mobilised over the coming months to root out child sex offenders.

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On a visit to Essex Police Headquarters yesterday, Home Secretary James Cleverly revealed its work had so far contributed to more than 550 arrests.

‘Where a child is being abused, we must do everything in our power to protect them and pursue the perpetrators until they are behind bars,’ he said.

Thanking all the investigators, Mr Cleverly branded child sexual exploitation a ‘despicable crime’ which can have ‘a lasting impact on a child’s life’.

He highlighted measures in the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill requiring all professionals to report to police where they fear abuse is taking place and banning sex offenders from changing their names.

The taskforce has forged links with back street hotels used by some gangs to abuse children, while £1.6million in funding has been pumped into the NSPCC’s whistleblowing helpline.

Ian Critchley, national police lead for child protection and abuse, said the taskforce had made ‘significant strides’ in disrupting grooming gangs in its first year.

Ian Critchley (pictured), national police lead for child protection and abuse, said the taskforce had made ‘significant strides’ in disrupting grooming gangs in its first year.

But he said: ‘We are not standing still.

‘It is incumbent on us all in society and different communities to prevent these offences that have a lifelong impact on victims.

‘We remain dedicated to ensuring we identify, protect and support victims and are committed to the relentless pursuit of offenders to bring them to justice.’ 

Welcoming the Home Secretary’s support, Mark Russell, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said ever police force needed to be able to ‘deal with a child who has experienced terrible things in the most appropriate way’.



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