An uncovered report that sheds light on a troubling, high-profile abuse scandal in the UK has revealed that the second largest police force in Britain was withholding information pertaining to gangs of Muslim men who systematically groomed children.
The West Midlands Police were informed five years ago that over 100 predominantly white children, in some cases as young as 13 years old, were in danger of becoming victims of child exploitation.
A document, titled "Problem Profile, Operation Protect," first released in March 2010, discussing the issue of Asian gangs targeting schools and children's home throughout the area. Written for senior officers, the report also discussed the use of white girls to attract other possible victims for the gangs, writes Martin Robinson for The Daily Mail.
However, police did not move to warn the public or look for additional information concerning the men in question despite receiving the warnings. The report was published just this month under the Freedom of Information Act.
In one heavily redacted passage, the document reads: "In (redacted) a teacher at a (redacted) that a group of Asian males were approaching pupils at the school gate and grooming them. Strong anecdotal evidence shows this MO (modus operandi) is being used across the force. Operations in other forces have identified an MO where offenders use a young girl in a children's home to target and groom other residents on their behalf. This has also been evidenced within the force in (redacted) and (redacted). The girl's motivation to recruit new victims is often that the provision of new girls provides her a way to escape the cycle of abuse."
According to the report, police have identified a total of 139 victims. Of that group, 78% were white and more than half were between the ages of 13 and 15. Half of the victims, originally from Birmingham, Dudley, and Walsall, lived with their parents. An additional 41% were in care.
Police discovered 75 grooming suspects. Most of the men in this group had a history of sexual violence. The majority were of a Muslim background and resided in Birmingham. The report noted 59 of the 75 men, or 79%, were of southern Asian descent, 12% were white, and 5% African Caribbean. Of the Asian group, 62% were of Pakistani origin, writes Jeanette Oldham for The Birmingham Mail.
The report went on to say that many of the gangs forced their victims into prostitution using "high levels of intimidation and force" to ensure their victims followed their commands.
Mention of "community tension" was included, in the event that the police made the report's findings public, saying that a backlash against the Asian/Pakistani community could occur from other members of the community if they believe their children are at risk.
The report also suggested that the victims had been controlled by drugs and alcohol in addition to suffering from other health conditions relating to their treatment, including pregnancy, termination, STDs, and neglect, as well as other physical and psychological problems.
West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said that the police force was continuing to work on the issue at hand, saying that it was because if their hard work, in addition to the media coverage on the topic, that more victims are beginning to come forward with their stories. He added that all victims would be treated sensitively, respectfully, and taken seriously.