Chief: Time to shine a light on hidden crimes
CRIME Commissioner David Jamieson has voiced his concern that child sexual exploitation figures are not being published regularly.
“I am disappointed at the delay in providing this information as I want this important data published,” he said.
“It was a key joint promise that this would be published regularly, and the delay in recent publications is concerning.
“The data showed the willingness of the public sector to confront these issues head-on and shine a light on hidden crimes.
“Child sexual exploitation is an issue for the police, but also for local authorities’ children’s services teams. I sincerely hope that the delay in publication does not relate to cutbacks in those departments.
“The police take the issue of child exploitation very seriously, as shown by the recent conviction of Zakaria Mohammed and action taken to close down premises linked to the grooming of vulnerable girls. However, there clearly must be more done to tackle the issue of exploitation in all its forms.
“I expect the data to be published as soon as possible as it is clearly in the public interest.
“We should not be afraid to talk about difficult issues like this, however uncomfortable they may be. I expect a timetable to be set out as to when this data will be published on an ongoing basis.”
Council chiefs say that the way they collate and present CSE data is currently under review, with decisions due in the next few months.
Superintendent Paul Drover, from West Midlands Police’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Any suggestion that West Midlands Police is withholding information relating to child sexual exploitation is, frankly, wrong and unfair.
“The force has agreed with all local authorities that it will publish statistics and information relating to CSE on their behalf. However, we are reliant on that information being passed over from councils – and it has been more than a year since that last happened.”