Manchester Evening News
March 22, 2014
Greater Manchester Police have received more than 2,000 tip-offs about child grooming in under a year, new figures reveal – a third of them in Rochdale.
A new system set up a year ago – in the wake of the town’s sexual exploitation scandal – has kept track of every single piece of intelligence passed to officers relating to the crime.
It means police can form a better picture of potential victims and offenders, while helping to protect children and spot trends.
The figures, which have been analysed for Stockport MP Ann Coffey, who is investigating how agencies have responded to the scandal, show 2,286 pieces of intelligence have been received in the 10 months to January from worried members of the public, teachers, social workers and officers. And 693 of those were in Rochdale.
Ms Coffey said it showed the public now has its ‘eyes and ears open’ to child sexual exploitation.
“It shows that the level of concern amongst people in Greater Manchester is high,” she said.
“However there is still a long way to go and many incidences will still be unreported.
“It is so important that all the community is involved in sharing information to try to prevent children from being groomed and coming to harm.
“By stopping sexual exploitation from happening in the first place, we prevent years and years of heartache for those involved.”
The police introduced its new ‘flagging’ system in the wake of Rochdale’s grooming scandal, which saw nine men jailed in May 2012 for abusing a string of young girls.
After the case – which saw agencies slammed for failing to take grooming seriously – a GMP internal review decided to set up a flagging system.
The move brings GMP up to speed with many other forces, whose computer systems already automatically flag up grooming concerns.
The figures also reveal 105 reported crimes with some link to child sexual exploitation in that period, roughly a third – 37 – of them in Rochdale.