Police quizzed over grooming
“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.