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venerdì 15 settembre 2017
Gang members 'filming rape attacks on schoolgirls as young as 13'
Gang members are allegedly targeting schoolgirls as young as 13 for rape and sexual exploitationin south Birmingham - with some of the attacks being filmed and shared.
Police have made a number of arrests after claims children are being groomed into warped relationships, then encouraged to pose for sexually explicit pictures.
It is understood detectives are also investigating allegations that rapes have been videoed by gang members and then shared among themselves.
The exploitation is said to involve schoolgirl victims in and around south 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."
He added: “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.
“Safeguarding children is a priority for West Midlands Police and we continue to work with our partners such as local authorities, schools and third sector organisations to safeguard young people.”
The Birmingham Mail knows the names of schools involved, but cannot reveal them for legal reasons.
It is understood parents of alleged victims in the areas affected have been alerted to the potential threat to their children.
But it is believed that neither the city council nor the schools involved have sent general warning letters home to all parents - despite meetings between police, teachers and local councillors and the situation being compared to the Rotherham child abuse scandal.
Birmingham City Council Chief Executive Stella Manzie was warned about the abuse by local councillor and former Lord Mayor Randal Brew.
Cllr Brew told the Birmingham Mail that police had alerted him to the alleged grooming at a neighbourhood meeting.
The Conservative councillor said: “They flagged up this particular issue with me, that there were gang members within the south Birmingham area... who were recruiting vulnerable young girls as sex objects for their status and income and so on.
“When I’d had the conversation with the police, I emailed Ms Manzie in July and gave her a resume of the conversation I’d had.
“And I had a very swift response from her. She undertook a review when she got in touch with various people and there was a senior officer from the city council in children’s services who came back to me and was assuring me that they are working to prevent this happening.”
In an email reply to Cllr Brew, Ms Manzie 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.
“We have invested jointly with the police and responded in the case of each child and where disclosure allegations have been made there have been plans put in place for each child involved according to their assessed need.”
She added that there were a number of investigations ongoing and the council continued to “work with our partners to agree strategies.
Her safeguarding assurances come just days after it was revealed West Midlands Police was failing to record many rapes, sexual offences, and other violent crimes - with some cases going uninvestigated as well.
The force is failing to record one in 10 rapes and sexual offences reported, according to a report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, which branded the force as inadequate.
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “Child sexual exploitation is an issue that this council takes extremely seriously and we have a clear strategy in place to address the issue in all schools across the city, including an effective reporting system that allows us to support vulnerable children.
“We continue to work closely with the police and other partner agencies to meet the challenges of child sexual exploitation within our city. Where particular concerns are highlighted, schools will work with the council and other agencies to assess the most appropriate way to engage with parents and the wider community on a case-by-case basis.”