POLICE investigating non-recent allegations of child sexual abuse in Bradford have arrested 21 men as part of an arrest operation.

The men were arrested from addresses in Bradford, Shipley and Keighley during a three-week operation.

All 21 men, aged between 33 and 41, have been interviewed and released pending further enquiries.

The allegations relate to offences which are reported to have occurred in the district between 2001 and 2009 and relate to one female victim.

Detective Superintendent Sarah Jones, of Bradford District Police, said: “This investigation forms part of West Yorkshire Police’s commitment to the investigation of both current and non-recent sexual offences against children.

“Tackling child abuse is not something that any one agency can do in isolation though which is why we work closely with local authorities and other organisations and charities to support victims, bring offenders to justice and make our communities safer.

“We would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, whether recent or historic, to report it to the police. Please be assured that you will be listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals with experience of dealing with these kind of offences.”

It comes after last week's news that a specialist team in Bradford arrested 15 men on suspicion of online child exploitation following a two-week operation.

Detectives from the Policing Online Investigations Team (POLIT) conducted a series of arrests at 15 addresses across the district.

The POLIT team was supported throughout the past couple of weeks by a number of teams across the Bradford District including CID, patrol and NPT as well as the West Yorkshire Police Digital Forensic Unit.

Fifteen men, aged between 22 and 65, were arrested and 60 computers and mobile phones were seized by officers.

All were released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

Councillor Adrian Farley, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for children and families, said: “Child abuse is a horrendous crime and we are committed to tackling it in all its forms, no matter when it took place. 

“We work closely with our partners in the police to do this. 

“We would like to assure anyone who has been the victim of abuse that they can come forward and report it in confidence either by calling the Council on 01274 435600 or by contacting the police.”

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, welcomed news of the police operation.

He said child sexual abuse was “still a massive issue which has to be tackled".

Mr Davies added: “I welcome the police’s continued commitment to bring perpetrators to justice and help to keep children safe. I hope any victims or anyone who has any information about these crimes will come forward to the police to help them keep our communities safe."

Robbie Moore, Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley, added he was pleased action was now being taken.

He said: “I would also like to thank the police officers at West Yorkshire Police for their efforts during this operation. 

“It’s vital to reiterate the message that people accused of child abuse and grooming will be apprehended - there is no hiding place, the police will find you - whether the reports are from last week, last year or even decades ago. 

“This kind of crime has a lasting impact on its victims.

“It’s never too late to achieve justice.”