Shropshire Council agrees to help Telford child-sex abuse inquiry

Shropshire Council says it will co-operate fully with an inquiry into the sexual exploitation of children in Telford.

The authority said it would be assisting with the inquiry that neighbouring Telford & Wrekin Council is to hold following an extraordinary council meeting on Monday.

West Mercia Police has also said it will voluntarily assist with the inquiry.

In a letter to Telford MP Lucy Allan, Shropshire Council's chief executive Clive Wright said the authority would be working with the inquiry.

Ms Allan, who first called for the inquiry in 2016, said she was pleased Shropshire Council was on board.

Mr Wright said Shropshire Council's director of children's services Karen Bradshaw had been talking to the neighbouring authority.

"We have been working transparently with Telford & Wrekin on this matter for some time through our director of children’s services," he said.

"I confirm that we would co-operate and assist with an independent inquiry. To date, there have been no requests for information referred to Shropshire Council."

Ms Allan also met with Superintendent Tom Harding of West Mercia Police yesterday.

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"The police also agreed to voluntarily cooperate with the inquiry," she said.

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On Monday an extraordinary meeting of Telford & Wrekin Council voted unanimously to order a public inquiry into claims that child-sex gangs had been operating in the town for decades.

A national newspaper claimed that up to 1,000 girls could have been abused in Telford over a period going back 40 years.

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Telford & Wrekin Council has been responsible for social services and child welfare in Telford borough since its formation in April 1998. Before that, responsibility fell to the former Shropshire County Council.

Ms Allan said: "I'm delighted both Shropshire Council and West Mercia Police have responded positively to Telford & Wrekin Council's commitment to holding an independent inquiry.

"It is vital we find answers, and bring about justice for the victims of CSE in Telford so that as a community we can move forward.

"I hope the authorities will use this opportunity to communicate to these victims that they were not at fault, that they will be listened to and that they can come forward in confidence."

"I welcome West Mercia police agreeing to participate in the forthcoming independent inquiry into CSE in Telford. I am keen to see a means for the community to report any concerns they may have without having to make a formal police report and to ensure appropriate funding for support groups.

"The Government has announced a £13m fund to help children and young people at risk of the sexual exploitation.

"This funding could be used to establish a safe space where young people can share their concerns with professionals who will listen to them, provide specialist counselling services and improving the way local organisations work together to support the vulnerable young people. This funding is hugely welcome at this time."




Date: 13 April 2018 | Source: Shropshire Star

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