COUNCILLORS have argued that more needs to be done to identify why a high proportion of grooming perpetrators in Bradford come from the Pakistani community.

During the debate one Councillor said he was “gobsmacked” that police had few answers as to why this was the case. Others said the community was no longer willing to brush the issue under the carpet, and were now more readily reporting crimes committed by their community.

Bradford Council’s Bradford East Area Committee was discussing the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation in the constituency at a meeting on Thursday.

Police and safeguarding bosses told members of the good work being done to educate people how to spot the dangers of grooming.

Councillor David Ward (Ind, Bolton and Undercliffe) said while this work was commendable, the report didn’t seem to include any reference to the fact that British Pakistani men were disproportionately more likely to be perpetrators of CSE offences.

The most recent figures into grooming investigations show that out of all recent CSE cases investigated in the past year 39 per cent of perpetrators were British Pakistani.

Cllr Ward said he had seen the report a number of times before, and claims it needed to show clearer links on how efforts to tackle CSE were informed by statistics on victims and perpetrators.

“These figures show there is a disproportionate numbers of Pakistani male perpetrators. Why is that?”

When he was told that was not an answer police could give at that time, Cllr Ward replied: “This is an issue we have been looking at in depth for many years, and we still can’t say why disproportionately it seems Pakistani men are more likely to be perpetrators than other groups?”

He said he was “gobsmacked” police hadn’t done more work investigating this link, adding “This is not simply about catching people who do this type of crime, it is about knowing why people are do0ing this. Unless we know why certain people do this, then we can’t stop them.”

Mark Griffin, Manager of Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, said: “We do work with specific communities in some cases, including work with young British Pakistani men. I can’t answer that question on behalf of the perpetrators. The it could be money, gratification, opportunity, many different reasons.”

Councillor Riaz Ahmed (Lib Dem, Bradford Moor) said: “We need to find out why this is happening. We owe it to the victims, and we owe it to the innocent people in the Pakistani community. If we don’t find out why this is happening, then we can never address it. We need to look at the perpetrators and how they are linked. If we don’t find these links we can’t address these issues. This is a problem we have to sort out. I’m in that group - British Pakistani men, and we need to address this, if we don’t know the root of the problem we can’t address it.

“For many years this was an issue that was brushed under the carpet. We have to look at these figures and see what the solutions are.”

Councillor Taj Salam (Lab, Little Horton) said: “Whether we admit it or not, there are some communities where the cultural stance takes more priority than reporting. We have to get past the idea that reporting will bring shame on the community or family.

“I think now the Asian community is starting to sit up and take note, and that is due to recent cases and convictions. People in the Asian community are talking about CSE now, just a few years ago they weren’t.

“You now get faith leaders talking about modern issues like CSE and drug dealing in their sermons.

“This is an issue that, 10 years ago, no-one wanted to touch.”