From Keighley News, March 29th, 2018
Written by Miran Rahman
THE uncompromising truth about the reality of child sex grooming and what must be done to eliminate it was broadcast at a conference in Keighley.“Safeguarding Children – How to Make Keighley the Best” was staged in Keighley Civic Centre after being jointly organised by MP John Grogan and the United Keighley group.The conference brought together schools, the police, councillors, social workers, churches, mosques and the voluntary sector.
Among the speakers last Friday (March 23) was Ingrow mum Angela Sinfield, who is mounting a drive for an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Keighley and Bradford. Among the speakers last Friday (March 23) was Ingrow mum Angela Sinfield, who is mounting a drive for an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Keighley and Bradford.
She stressed this crime had been going on for decades, and was still happening today. “It will continue to happen until we get together and say ‘enough is enough’”, she warned. “The people who do this manipulate the child and say to them, ‘if you say or do anything to try and stop it then this will happen to your family, this will happen to your mum, and we’ll burn your house down’. These men are cowards. They operate in gangs and they are criminals.
“When a child is groomed, drugs and alcohol are the first things they are plied with. There are primary school-aged children running drugs from takeaways, in return for the offer of a free burger and a few chips. It’s taken me 16 years to get an admission that what we’re dealing with here is organised criminals.”
Also among those speaking was Keighley town chaplain Reverend Dr Jonathan Pritchard, who said moral outrage was an inadequate, “self-indulgent” response to this crime. “To say something is wrong isn’t enough, we have to do something about it,” he said. “We want to live in a town where children are safe from sexual predators.”
He said because the far right had deliberately made the issue about race this led to people being frightened to speak out.
But he said not only was the crime itself a sin, sweeping it under the carpet was also sinful.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said there has been a huge increase in the amount of effort devoted to tackling the problem in the last eight to 10 years.
“As I speak There are many police investigations ongoing and cases due to come to court,” he said. “They are often complex investigations that need a lot of resources, but we’re committed to ensuring those resources are there.”
Other speakers included Mufti Khurshid Alam Sabri, of Keighley Markazi Jamia Mosque, and executive head John Devlin, of Keighley Schools together.
Mufti Sabri said child sexual exploitation was “evil” and against all Islamic teachings. Mr Devlin said he wanted to see affordable holiday and evening activities to keep children in safe environments, as well as a specialised curriculum covering child sexual exploitation, drug abuse, advice on healthy relationships and how to be safe online.