Police have arrested 32 people over historic child sex offences in a series of swoops across Kirklees.
The pre-planned four-day operation this week saw 30 men and two women held and addresses searched in Huddersfield, Slaithwaite, Dewsbury and Bradford areas during the four day policing operation. All 32 have now been interviewed and released on bail.
The investigation centres on allegations made by 16 women of sexual abuse committed against them as children in the Huddersfield area.
The offences are alleged to have been committed by suspects aged in their late teens to mid 40s while the women were aged between 11 and 18-years-old.
This investigation forms part of West Yorkshire Police’s commitment to the investigation of both current and historic sexual offences against children. These are abhorrent crimes that affect the most vulnerable in our society.
Protecting children and ensuring that victims are put at the heart of everything we do is a top priority for the Force. We have specialist safeguarding units in each of our five policing districts, which include officers dedicated to dealing with both current and historic child abuse and child sexual exploitation.
Tackling child abuse is not something that any one agency can do in isolation though which is why we work closely with local authorities and other organisations and charities to support victims, bring offenders to justice and make our communities safer.
We would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, whether recent or historic, to report it to the police. Please be assured that you will be listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals with experience of dealing with these kind of offences.
– DETECTIVE CHIEF INSPECTOR TONY NICHOLSON, KIRKLEES DISTRICT CID
It certainly appears that the West Yorkshire Police have their ducks in a row on child sex abuse and I applaud them for that. It would have been much better though if they could have lined up those ducks several years ago.
BY ROBERT SUTCLIFFE
Public meeting on hospital shake-up at John Smith's Stadium. MP Barry Sheerman arrives at the meeting.
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has told of his frustration at trying to get the authorities to take seriously the allegations of child sex victims.
He says he was approached by at least half-a-dozen of them back in 2008 when he was chairman of the Children’s, Schools and Families Select Committee and tried in a parliamentary debate to raise his concerns.
But he said the climate at the time was not conducive and the “negative reaction” left him struggling to take the matter forward.
Told today of the arrests the Huddersfield MP said: “I am deeply disturbed by this. I brought some of these cases to the attention of the police many years ago.
“I’m afraid that at the time too many people didn’t want to take it seriously including some leading people in the council.
“There was a reluctance to accept this, certainly the local council and the police.
“But I am glad that eventually the police have responded. “It’s deeply disturbing for the reputation of the town.
"surveillance was very expensive"
“A lot of misery might have been avoided if earlier action by the people responsible for children’s services had been taken.
“They were hoping it would go away. The leadership of the council was reluctant to face up to what I was seeing.
“When I went to the police I got the answer which I can understand was that these young people were in fear or in love with their perpetrators and surveillance was very expensive.
“Some of these alleged victims were in care but some of them were perfectly ordinary girls who had been lured into relationships.
“I knew perfectly well what was happening. It was across England, Oxford, London and the north.
“I wish I could have worked even harder but I got a very negative reaction to my Westminster debate.”
I suspect you could have worked harder, and I wish you had.
Barry said: "Those people arrested will be getting a fair trial and those guilty of abuse of these children will be brought to book."