Senior police officers ignored the victims of Pakistani grooming gangs because they were concerned that acknowledging them might “stoke racial tensions,” a watchdog has ruled.
Following a five-year investigation the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has upheld a complaint that a police officer in Rotherham told the father of a grooming gang victim that the town “would erupt” if it were known that Pakistani men were grooming underage white girls for sex.
According to The Times, “[t]he chief inspector is said to have described the abuse as “P*** shagging” and to have said it had been “going on” for 30 years: “With it being Asians, we can’t afford for this to be coming out.””
The paper has seen a 13-page document from the watchdog in which that organisation told the victim that it was “very clear that you were sexually exploited by Asian men” and upheld a complaint that police “took insufficient action to prevent you from harm.”
The report comes just days after it was revealed that Greater Manchester Police shelved an investigation into 97 men who had been identified as suspects in a probe launched following the death of Victoria Agoglia. The teen died of a heroin overdose despite previously telling carers that she had been raped and injected with heroin by Pakistani men.
After police dropped their investigation, known as Operation Augusta, in 2004, at least 54 more girls were targeted by the men.
Former Greater Manchester Police detective Maggie Oliver slammed the officials who dropped the investigation, saying at the launch of the report: “Fifteen years – the perpetrators that we knew on Operation Augusta were abusing generations of children were allowed to walk free.
“The kids themselves that I spoke to – I was on Operation Augusta, I wrote the report – those children were just cast to the wind, left to their own devices. Nobody cared about them.
“And I am talking about the people at the top of the police and at social services. The chief constable, assistant chief constables, head of social services, the people who knew the facts, who knew the truth and they chose to bury the truth. That, in my opinion, is unforgivable.”
‘Unforgivable’ is one word for it, but more pertinent is to ask: why this was allowed to happen? Why did so many people at the head of major police forces simply turn a blind eye to the abuse being perpetrated?
And not just the police forces. These two examples have just surfaced, but there are plenty more. In 2015, former Victims’ Commissioner Louise Casey declared Rotherham Borough Council “not fit for purpose” after her report revealed that both the police and council staff knew of the widespread abuse of girls in their town and did nothing.
Not only that, but allegations were made in Rotherham that two local councillors and a South Yorkshire Police officer themselves raped girls caught up in the scandal.
The common narrative is that the girls’ suffering was ignored because of ‘political correctness’.
Spiked! editor Brendan O’Neill took this line when he wrote this week: “The very organisations that are charged with looking after young people who are at risk of abuse failed to do their duty. And they failed to do their duty because they did not want to ruffle community feathers; because they believed, as so much of the establishment does, that ordinary Britons are a vile racist throng and if we hear about an Asian grooming gang we will go crazy. They let their ideology – their commitment to political correctness and to multicultural censorship – distract them from the task of protecting girls from ‘the most profound abuse and exploitation’.
“[…] We need a serious debate about this. And yet even discussing it is difficult. People are branded racist if they bring it up. You’re an Islamophobe if you talk about the background of most of these men. Sarah Champion was thrown out of the shadow cabinet for daring to write about gangs of Pakistani men abusing girls in her constituency of Rotherham. Corbynistas and Muslim groups accused her of racism.”
But O’Neill fails to ask why? Why would political correctness or adherence to an ideology cause people to ignore rape and murder on such a grand scale? Let’s be clear; no serious debate is going to happen until we first ask why it has been stifled for so long, and what can be done about that.
A government report into sexual grooming recently revealed that more than 18,700 suspected victims were identified by local councils in 2018/19 alone, although the true figure may be far higher.
Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham told the Independent in December: “Too many times, government has said it will ‘learn lessons’, yet 19,000 children are still at risk of sexual exploitation. The government has singularly failed to tackle this issue head on. Its approach has been piecemeal and underfunded.”
Rotherham victim Sammy Woodhouse, told the paper: “You hear this bullsh*t line, ‘lessons have been learned’, but they haven’t learned anything. I still hear a lot about the authorities aren’t doing things as they should. It’s not very often I hear something good and for all different reasons – if the police won’t act on reports, people feel they’re not being listened to or supported properly, or information not being shared.”
Taken at face value it appears that some sort of collective madness has overtaken our authorities whereby they have fallen under the spell of political correctness – and appear to be unable to break it – for no good reason. But nothing happens for no good reason.
A clue to where ultimate responsibility lies can be found in the testimony of Nazir Afzal, the chief crown prosecutor for north west England who led the prosecution team that secured convictions for the Rochdale grooming gang. Nine defendents in that case, known as Operation Span, were convicted.
In an article written by Afzal for International Business Times, dated May 17, 2017, he stated: “The case, however, only succeeded because I took the then unprecedented decision to reverse an earlier decision made my other prosecutors and police in 2008/9 NOT to prosecute.”
He said that the authorities looked the other way because they had been told to by none other than the British government.
“The term “child prostitute” was used extensively to describe them [the victims] and it should be noted both that the Home Office in a circular to police in 2008 used that term and spoke of girls making an “informed choice” to engage in this behaviour. Parliament only finally removed the term from all laws a couple of years ago,” he wrote.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s PM program on October 19, 2018 he again repeated this claim, saying:
“Back in 2008 the Home Office sent a circular to all police forces in the country saying ‘as far as these young girls who were being exploited in their towns and cities, we believe that they’ve made an informed choice about their sexual behaviour and therefore it’s not for your police officers to get involved in.’ If that’s the landscape coming from the top down in 2008, rest assured all agencies are going to listen to it.”
In reply to a Freedom of Information request to supply the circular in question, the Home Office failed to do so, saying “We have not been able to identify any circular which includes the statement in your request.” However, as Afzal was clearly paraphrasing this is perhaps unsurprising. Nonetheless a search of the Home Office’s archives also fails to identify the circular in question, meaning either that it was removed, that the statements are buried in another circular, that they were made in a different year, or Afzal simply got it wrong.
Afzal’s comments in the BBC interview were taken out of context on the internet and attributed to both Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith, who were Prime Minister and Home Secretary respectively at the time. On January 15 in response to the quote again circulating, Smith tweeted “that’s not true […] No Minister ever said that.”
She then tweeted a screenshot of an exchange she had with Afzal on Twitter in which she asked him for clarification on his statement. He replied “I have never said you or any Ministers were responsible or even aware […] The phrase “informed choice” & “child prostitution” was law of land till 2015. The HO were simply echoing the law”
Neither Smith nor Afzal denied the existence of the circular.
The conclusion must therefore be reached that the police and councils did not ignore the mass rape and murder of young people across Britain for over 20 years because individual officers or even sergeants were afraid of being seen as racist or stoking racial tensions, but because they had been told to ignore it by a government more interested in preserving political correctness than protecting British children.
The question then becomes, why might that be? …