Bradford Town Hall
Following on from Alan Craig`s excellent report (see here) into Labour Councils and their complete failure to recognize CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) and grooming, I thought it would be prudent to highlight one such council. That is my own – Bradford
In 2004 two campaigners, Angela Sinfield and Caroline Henry, made a documentary called “Edge of the City”. It dealt with the grooming, raping and trafficking of young white girls. They were totally ignored when they presented it to the police in Keighley, an industrial town on the outskirts of Bradford. The Bradford City council also chose to take no action.
Fast forward to 2012 and the breaking stories in Rotherham & Rochdale and subsequently many more towns and cities across the country and the Bradford council and Policing chiefs awoke.
Challenged several times, Bradford Labour council leader Susan Hinchcliffe and deputy council leader Val Slater together with the then Conservative MP John Grogan denied calls for an enquiry into CSE as “not necessary”.
A protection `hub` was established by the Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williams, with an initial budget of £1 million. A further £1 million from the Government was made available subsequently.
Since 2012 there have been many and varied arrests & convictions of men who have raped, buggered and trafficked young, predominantly white vulnerable girls. Victims report very many `No Further Actions` to referred cases. One case in March this year involved a young girl in care in Bradford – please remember this as it significantly features later. This girl and a friend were repeatedly given drugs and alcohol and passed around many men. These girls were just fifteen years of age. 10 Pakistani men were charged with offences.
On Tuesday 6th November this year myself and Derrick Hodgson, a fellow UKIP member from the Bradford Branch, attended the Town Hall in Bradford to observe the Council Executive meeting. What sparked our interest was the report from Ofsted in September this year into Children`s Services in Bradford which is at best woeful and at worse a downright disgrace.
Inspectors found staggering numbers: 4,000, young children at serious risk of harm. 1,700 cases needed immediate and serious review. (Remember the 2 girls in care of the council?)
The council are now under the watchful eye of the Government and have been issued an improvement notice. They have until January 2019 to make significant improvements. At the time of the meeting they had completed 50% of the urgent 1700 reviews. £450,000 has been made available to facilitate these improvements which includes the recruitment of an `improvement manager` within a month.
The feedback and discussion about this report and its obvious seriousness took a whole 45 minutes. The leader of the council (Labour) Susan Hinchcliffe and the Chief executive of the Council (£184,000 salary) Kirsten England said they were “sorry”.
The next item on the agenda was feedback from the ‘integration and cohesion team` – interesting to note, they have a government funded budget of £1.2 million to look at these projects within the Bradford Area.
The next item on the agenda, bearing in mind the foregoing, was the `annual` feedback to the Council Executive on CSE. Yes, I was, to use a Yorkshire term, gobsmacked too: annual feedback! One would have thought they would be reporting back to the executive weekly, especially now, given the Ofsted report.
Also interesting to note was that no correlation has been made, nor was it referred to, between the Ofsted report and on-going grooming. A Police Superintendent, a representative of Barnardo`s and two of the team from Children`s Services were present. They fed back pretty much blah blah blah, to be honest: ongoing, joined up thinking, programmes that were or had been in place … Nothing of any concrete tangible action was reported.
Girls are still being picked up outside school gates, raped and buggered and trafficked, by the way.
The lady from Barnardo`s referred to two programmes: NIghtwatch and MASH.
NIghtwatch was a project to look into the nighttime economy and its effect on CSE. It now has had its funding stopped, though. MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) is still ongoing. It’s a project for raising awareness and education. I have had a long involvement with CSE and both these projects are news to me. I cannot find any feedback or evaluation of the now defunct Nightwatch programme.
Again interesting to note that the glossy documents found online about these projects had pictures on them of young boys, Asian and black girls. This does not in my opinion reflect the truth. In fact I would venture to say it’s a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the issue.
The Police Superintendent did mention twice during her report that we “must dispel the myths surrounding certain communities”. Just what these myths are and to which communities she was referring to was sadly never explored. I will leave the reader to draw their own conclusions.
A report in August 2018 by the Strategic Director of Children`s Services to the council talked of “an emerging issue” when referring to CSE. Really, “emerging”!
The report highlighted 347 young girls at risk, a rise of 14.5% since January 2018. It also reported 317 actual offences of grooming had taken place between April 2017 and March 2018. Perpetrators were made up of 60% Pakistani males and 20% white males.
I can only conclude that this council is derelict in its duty.
- Reporting annually on CSE to the council executive is just not enough.
- An Ofsted report from September this year is very damning.
- A report from August this year highlights continuing grooming yet no correlation has been made between the two.
- Why was the PCC for West Yorkshire not at this meeting.
- Who if anyone is taking responsibility for this.
- Why is the Government not making an intervention
- Is this an isolated case with this council
UKIP must tackle and highlight this problem nationwide. It would not be difficult to look for evidence within Labour-run councils where CSE has taken place, to prove that they have been more interested in appeasing the voter base than the offences that have resulted in the ruination of so many young lives.
We must challenge this emerging evidence which points to Labour run councils ignoring this major issue within our society.
After all Naz Shar, Labour MP for Bradford did re-tweet that the victims of grooming should
“shut their mouths for the sake of diversity”