A police chief has admitted the scale of child sex abuse by predators targeting Keighley was “unclear” – but stressed it was not just carried out by Asian men.
Speaking outside Bradford Crown Court yesterday, Chief Superintendent Angela Williams, also said it was unknown why Shazad Rehman and Bilal Hussain had deliberately targetted the town to snare vulnerable girls.
Chief Supt Williams said: “It is unclear why they came to Keighley, because they haven’t told us why they came.”
Asked if she feared the town had gained a reputation as an easy place to commit such crimes, she replied: “I don’t believe that is the case in Keighley and by the outcome at court today, people should be deterred from coming to Keighley to commit such offences.”
And regarding the fact it was another case of Asian men abusing white girls, Chief Supt Williams said: “Offences of this nature are not just related to one particular group of the community.”
Chief Supt Williams, the divisional commander of Airedale and North Bradford Police, said there were currently some 70 youngsters who had been identified as being at risk from sexual grooming in the Bradford district, although the precise numbers in Keighley were unknown.
“It is unclear as to the degree of the problem in relation to this, but we are working very hard to tackle it head-on,” she said Referring to Rehman and Hussain’s convictions and jailing, Chief Supt Williams said: “Our teenage girls in Keighley are far safer now this pair are behind bars.
“Months of detailed investigation went into monitoring their activities, which allowed us to build a catalogue of evidence against each of them.
“These sentences should therefore be a warning to anyone who thinks they can come to our town with the intention of committing such offences.
“Girls under 16 cannot consent to sexual acts in any circumstance and we will not tolerate or accept such behaviour.
“We will always face issues of child sexual exploitation head on and this outcome is testament to the strong partnership links which have been forged within the Bradford district.
“The expert support provided to the girls, gave them the courage to stand up against the perpetrators and ensured they were brought before the courts for their crimes.”