Police are preparing to arrest more men suspected of being child sex predators
Police are preparing to arrest more men suspected of being child sex predators.
GMP Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood told a conference held to mark the first anniversary of the jailing of the Heywood and Rochdale grooming ring to ‘expect a lot more convictions’.
He said around 550 officers were working on Operation Doublet, GMP’s bid to stamp out street grooming, adding it was a bigger priority than gun crime.
It emerged during last year’s trial – which saw nine men jailed for a total of 77 years for the rape and sexual abuse of vulnerable young girls in Rochdale and Heywood – that the gang may have contained up to 50 members although many were only identified by nicknames.
And ACC Heywood told delegates at the conference in Middleton last week that following the case, grooming and sexual exploitation were now the force’s number one priority.
He said: “We are dealing with an avalanche of child sex cases.
“Expect a lot more convictions.
“I currently have more detectives working on child sexual exploitation than I have on gun crime.
“For a place like Greater Manchester, as with any conurbation where there is a level of violence and organised criminality, that’s quite a statement.
“With that level of investment in resources a lot more convictions will come.”
Rochdale Chief Superintendent Annette Anderson added: “We have very good knowledge of the people that are committing these types of offences and abusing children in Rochdale.
“We are determined that we will disrupt and prosecute when necessary and identify children and young people at risk to give n From page one them appropriate intervention and support.”
An 11-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court last year heard Shabir Ahmed, Kabeer Hassan, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin and ringleader Shabir Ahmed, who were all from Rochdale and Oldham, groomed their victims with free taxi rides and kebabs and plied them with vodka before subjecting them to horrific sexual abuse.
Police are now working to construct cases against other potential offenders in the town going back to 2003.
The conference also heard that authorities have overhauled the way they deal with reports of child sexual exploitation.
Social workers, police and the Crown Prosecution Service were criticised in the wake of last year’s case for not treating the victims’ claims seriouly enough.
But Rochdale council chief executive Jim Taylor said changes had been made since.
He added: “The sexual exploitation of children is an appalling crime that is carried out by the worst kind of criminals.
“Unfortunately, we cannot stamp out the vile instincts of the people who carry out these awful acts.
“But we can make sure our own house is in order, make sure the right systems are in place and adopt an approach that will reassure parents that we are doing everything we can to protect children.
“To the criminals that want to harm our children, I have one unequivocal message, ‘We will find you, and we will stop you’.
Manchester Evening news