Eighteen people were convicted of abusing 22 vulnerable girls in Newcastle
The government said that “political and cultural sensitivities” must not stand in the way of rooting out the “sickening crime”.
It comes after 18 men were found guilty of grooming girls in Newcastle
Eighteen people were convicted of abusing girls as young as 14 in Newcastle yesterday.
Cops have been blasted after paying a convicted child rapist £10,000 to spy on the paedo gang – but he insists he’s “the good guy”.
The Attorney General has been urged to review the sentences of several of the 18 over claims the apparent racially-motivated nature of the crimes was not reflected in their punishment.
Peter Saunders, of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, told the Telegraph: “If the situation was different and this was white gang attacking Asian victims, quite rightly there would be an outcry, but because of the whole politically correct culture we have to bite our tongue and are afraid to address the reality.
“It is a further insult to the victims.”
Leeds imam Qari Asim said Muslims must confront “cultural prejudices” which have led these men to “prey on white girls, seeing them as easy meat”.
Northumbria Police defend use of convicted rapist as informant in Newcastle sexual exploitation case
Mike Penning, a former policing and justice minister, urged Attorney General Jeremy Wright to look at reviewing the offences and taking race into account.
He said: “Some of them freely admitted that their attitude to these girls was based on race.
“If that’s the case then this is a racially motivated crime and the sentence should and must reflect that.”
Labour MP Sarah Champion claimed people are more afraid of being called a racist than speaking up to help prevent child sexual exploitation.
Sarah Champion says a fear of being labelled racism has stopped people tackling child e sexual exploitation
It was the latest in a long line of grooming cases to occur, and the MP for Rotherham – which has been at the centre of one – said there is a need to acknowledge that the “majority of perpetrators have been British-Pakistani”.
She called for more Government research, added that the lack of action is because people are “more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse”.
Speaking to the BBC, the shadow women and equalities secretary said every time she speaks about the issue, the level of Islamophobia increases.
She told Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve got now hundreds of men, Pakistani men, who have been convicted of this crime – why are we not commissioning research to see what’s going on and how we need to change what’s going on so it never happens again?”
Ms Champion added: “The far right will attack me for not doing enough, the floppy left will have a go at me for being a racist.
“But this isn’t racist, this is child protection and we need to be grown-up about this and deal with it.”
She added “If it was people from a particular town that was doing this crime across the country, if it was people from – I don’t know – a motorbike gang doing this, we’d recognise that as an indicator and we’d deal with it – but we’re just not dealing with it.”
Asked why, Ms Champion said: “I know in Rotherham I’ve met frontline social workers who, when – we’re talking 10 years ago – they were trying to report this crime, were sent on race relations courses, they were told they were going to have disciplinary action if they didn’t remove the fact they were identifying the person as a Pakistani male.
“This is still going on in our towns now, I know it’s still going on but we’re still not addressing it.”
Eighteen people found guilty over Newcastle sex grooming network
Her comments were echoed by a former Crown Prosecution Service chief, who admitted cases of Asian grooming gangs targeting white girls were not previously examined as “rigorously as they might have been”.
But Lord Macdonald of River Glaven said he believes this is no longer the case, with recent successful prosecutions showing the “so-called taboos” no longer exist.
He added that all communities need to recognise it is a “profoundly racist crime”.
Lord Macdonald told the Today programme he expects more cases to come to trial, adding he is sure there are ongoing investigations.
Ex-CPS chief admitted cases of Asian grooming gangs targeting white girls were not previously examined as 'rigorously as they might have been'
He said: “I think it’s a real wake-up call for communities. Not all sex crime takes place in a single community, of course we know that, that’s obvious.
“But there is a particular issue about some men in some communities who feel these young girls are trash who are available for sex.
“We all know that, we’ve seen it in this case, we’ve seen it in other cases, we know it’s going on as we speak.
“Law enforcement has a response, the police have a response, prosecutors have a response, judges have a response, but communities need a response themselves.”
Newcastle City Council's Pat Richie pays tribute victims of sexual exploitation ring
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