Year-on-year arrests for child sex grooming fell slightly in Bradford, according to statistics from a Freedom of Information request.
When asked how many arrests West Yorkshire Police made for child sexual exploitation between March, 2012, and March, 2013, statisticians showed that in the Bradford South division the figures fell from 82 to 78 arrests.
But in the police division of Airedale and North Bradford, includingKeighley, the arrest figure leapt by 25 per cent from 70 to 88 compared to the previous year.
The numbers of people actually charged with such offences in Bradford during that timespan dropped from 22 to 17 and from 24 to eight in the Airedale and North Bradford area.
In that same year, the number of Asian people across West Yorkshire arrested for sex offences involving victims under 18 rose from 98 to 142.
The total arrests for that particular crime during the year until March, 2013, fell from 684 to 639.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee said: “Offences of child sexual exploitation and other sexually based offences against children are completely unacceptable and this Force works very hard in bringing those who commit these offences to justice.
“The Asian community is one that has previously been discussed regarding the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation.
“The Asian community takes this issue very seriously and is doing a great deal to address child exploitation to educate and prevent this crime, but what we need is people from all communities to come forward and report to police anyone they suspect as being involved in any child sexual offences as this affects and happens in all communities.
“To focus on one section of the community allows this dreadful crime to remain hidden elsewhere.”
She said police commitment to tackling the problem could be seen in the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, Know the Signs.
Arrests for human trafficking also spiked with six arrests in Bradford South – up five on the previous year – and two recorded in Airedale and North Bradford compared to none in 2011-12.
Keighley Tory MP Kris Hopkins said: “It remains an outrage that these offences continue to be perpetrated on this scale, and I applaud the police for pursuing those involved with tireless determination and vigour.”
Councillor Ralph Berry, in charge of children and young people’s services for Bradford, said: “The public should have confidence that we are absolutely committed to this issue. Nothing matters more to us than getting this right.
“In the Bradford area there has been a targetting of the issue, including trafficking that is linked to sexual exploitation, on adult women as well as children.
“These arrests are fed by the work of the inter-agency hub that meets five days a week to share information and intelligence. There is a very, very impressive commitment by that hub.
“When information comes in it is being dealt with, and as a result of more attention to the issue victims have more confidence to come forward and realise that their experiences will be recognised. There is absolutely no complacency on this.”
Bradford Council for Mosques said it “totally condemns” all child sexual exploitation.
The spokesman said: “Even one incident is one too many. We welcome the drop in incidents indicated by figures released by the West Yorkshire Police; the numbers being reported are still too high for our district.
“The drop in overall numbers seems to suggest that the message is getting through.”
by Christ Tate