Following the many stories of UK grooming gangs that have come to light recently, further reports have being made from the ethnically diverse city of Birmingham. Birmingham Mail reported this week that gang members are allegedly targeting schoolgirls (some as young as 13-years-old) and then raping and sexually exploiting them. A number of the girls, who were groomed into thinking that they were in relationships with the men, were encouraged to pose for sexually explicit photographs which were then shared amongst the group.
Police in the area have made a number of arrests in conjunction with the above in and around the south of Birmingham.
Superintendent, Mat Shaer, from West Midlands Police, said:
“Several people are under investigation following allegations of child sexual exploitation in Birmingham which continues at pace. As a result, a number of victims have been identified and suspects arrested. Some of the suspects are believed to be affiliated to gangs in Birmingham which we are continuing to tackle as part of an on-going police crackdown on organised crime groups by police and partners.”
“If parents or carers have any concerns about a child we would urge them to get in touch, speak to their teachers or visit www.seeme-hearme.org.uk. The public are our eyes and ears on the ground; if you suspect anyone is involved in gang related crime or anti-social behaviour then please contact us in confidence so we can take action.”
Parents of the alleged victims in the affected areas have been alerted to the potential threat to their children.
Stella Manzie, who previously worked at Rotherham Council where over 1400 girls were abused by predominantly Pakistani Muslim men, said:
“In this part of the south of the city there has been evidence of emerging gang activity and sadly allegations of sexual exploitation of younger children by older children has been a feature. But on the information we have gathered through mapping intelligence across the partnership we have established there are two to three gangs in which some of the children are being caught up both as perpetrators and victims.”
Ms Manzie’s comments come just days after it was revealed that West Midlands Police are putting victims at risk by not correctly recording all reported offences (including rape and sexual assault). An assessment by HMICFRS (HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) found that only 83.8% of reported offences in the area were recorded by the force. This means that a total of at least 38,800 crimes are going unrecorded each year.