Eleven people have been arrested under Operation Heliodor in the south Manchester area, Greater Manchester Police said.
The suspected abusers, aged between 19 and 38, have been arrested for alleged offences including sexual activity with a child, attempted indecent assault, inciting child prostitution, abduction and rape. No indication yet as to what nationality the suspected abusers are. Is it possible they could be Pakistani?
|Police in Manchester have arrested 11 men on suspicion of a range of sexual offences|
How can you be released on bail when you haven't been charged with anything? That's weird! Could it be that the arrests were premature? That they were arrested too soon so that the Chief Constable could look like he's doing something, and deflect the criticism.
The arrests come at a time of increased scrutiny over the way police forces, including Greater Manchester, deal with child sexual exploitation allegations in the wake of damning reports and claims widespread abuse was effectively ignored by officers for years.
Detective Inspector Debbie Oakes of the Greater Manchester Police's Protect Team said: 'Tackling child sexual exploitation and those responsible for such heinous crimes is an absolute priority for us.'
'We listen to the children and put them at the heart of our investigations and tactics, to ensure their safety and well-being is at the forefront of everything we do.'
'Operation Heliodor is ongoing and, with this collaborative approach we will continue to target those involved in child sexual exploitation. I fully anticipate more warrants and arrests as we continue in our investigation.'
The arrests come after an MP criticised Greater Manchester Police for failing to tackle grooming gangs.
Labour's Simon Danczuk claimed Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy did not see the issue as a priority and urged him to do more.
|The arrests come after MP |
Simon Danczuk criticised
Greater Manchester Police
for its handling of
child sex abuse cases
|Greater Manchester Police |
Sir Peter Fahy has insisted
the force has 'completely
changed' since a child
sex ring operated
Speaking earlier this month, Sir Peter Fahy admitted the force was focused on other types of crime at the time of the Rochdale offences, but insisted it has now 'completely changed'.
He told the BBC: 'Unfortunately there was this big emphasis, particularly around big cities, about trying to improve in the league tables. But that is no excuse whatsoever for the fact that a mindset had developed, not only in the police but also in social services and in the Crown Prosecution Service, that this issue of children running away from homes could not be solved.
'We now have multi-agency teams in places like Rochdale. It's not only about investigating the matter and prosecuting the offender, but crucially to try and protect the young person from being involved in more abuse.'
Commenting on the latest arrests, Lynn Perry, regional director for Barnardo's said: 'We are pleased to be at the heart of an inter-agency partnership in Greater Manchester tackling child sexual exploitation; supporting and enabling young people to speak out and providing child victims of sexual exploitation with appropriate, long term support.'