Po­lice quizzed over groom­ing

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

“held to ac­count.” Af­ter the meet­ing, Mr Grasby told the Ex­am­iner: “I want to know where th­ese of­fi­cers are and if they now hold se­nior po­si­tions within the force.”

He be­lieves that of­fi­cers who had “failed” vic­tims will be held to ac­count af­ter the Chief Con­sta­ble told the panel the mat­ter was be­ing looked at by the force’s Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards Depart­ment.

Mr Grasby is also hope­ful that an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry com­mis­sioned by Kirklees Coun­cil into what went wrong in the dis­trict would look in de­tail at the be­hav­iour of po­lice of­fi­cers.

Re­spond­ing to Mr Grasby’s ques­tion, Mr Burns-Wil­liamson said the in­de­pen­dent re­view in Kirklees had yet to de­cide if the be­hav­iour of of­fi­cers would form part of the in­quiry.

He said it was im­por­tant to un­der­stand what had hap­pened and to im­prove the force’s ap­proach to deal­ing with child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and safe­guard­ing.

“The main thing is to sup­port vic­tims and their fam­i­lies and bring per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice.”

Crime panel mem­ber Salma Arif, a Leeds coun­cil­lor, said it was im­por­tant for Asian com­mu­ni­ties to speak out about child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion.

“It’s a con­ver­sa­tion that has to be done loudly, rather than qui­etly.”

Mr Burns-Wil­liamson said he had been vis­it­ing mosques and speak­ing with imams “to raise th­ese ex­act is­sues”.

Panel mem­ber Clr Amanda Carter asked how po­lice could get into schools when faced with “pro­tec­tive head­teach­ers” who “don’t like peo­ple go­ing into” their premises.

Mr Burns-Wil­liamson ad­mit­ted that it wasn’t easy to gain ac­cess to schools.

“The frag­men­ta­tion of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem makes it harder to get into schools.”

Mr Grasby said he wasn’t con­vinced that lessons had been learned in West York­shire from the 2014 Jay in­quiry into child ex­ploita­tion in Rother­ham.

“To many peo­ple in West York­shire it doesn’t ap­pear many lessons have been learned. Why should the pub­lic of West York­shire be­lieve that things are dif­fer­ent now?”

He added: “Can we pro­vide com­pelling ev­i­dence that things are dif­fer­ent? Peo­ple are cyn­i­cal that things re­ally are dif­fer­ent.”

The chief con­sta­ble told the panel that a num­ber of po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions into child ex­ploita­tion were on­go­ing and lessons were be­ing learned from each case.

She praised the Ex­am­iner for its cov­er­age of re­cent cases, say­ing the pa­per had been “very help­ful in rais­ing aware­ness” of the cases and of the be­hav­iour of the per­pe­tra­tors.

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