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Children still at risk of being groomed for sex in district
Dozens of children across the Bradford district remain potentially at risk of being groomed for sex.
Latest figures released by police show officers are now working with 73 children who are judged to be in danger of being targeted for sexual exploitation.
That compares with a total of 72 young people who were considered at risk in January 2013.
The police also said that within Bradford district, there are 38 men who have been arrested and bailed pending further inquiries relating to these types of offences.
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long, head of safeguarding for Bradford district, said: “The scale of the issue is not easy to quantify as many children don’t see themselves as victims of crime, but in relationships with predominantly older men.
“Each child is considered where information suggests the risks to vulnerability increase, and there is a dedicated partnership response to safeguarding, with the police working closely with children’s social care, health and support services to reduce risks to children.
“Proactive steps to apprehend those involved in these types of offences are also taken wherever opportunities exist.”
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said: “It’s certainly deeply concerning that the number of young people deemed to be vulnerable remains relatively unchanged over this period.
“However, the growing total of suspects who’ve been arrested and potentially face criminal charges stands as a real testament to how seriously the police in Keighley and the wider district are treating the war against paedophiles.
“I keep in regular contact with senior officers on these matters, and I know how committed they are to finding the evil men involved in child grooming and putting them behind bars.”
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain also expressed concern at the number of children still judged to be potentially at risk.
“It does seem like a fairly high figure,” he said. “A lot of awareness has been raised since last year and you would anticipate that parents are probably more vigilant.
“So you’d think that would help get some of these young people off the danger list.
“But this is a difficult, complex issue which isn’t unique to the Bradford area, and it isn’t as conspicuous as other threats.”