“Victims of crime must know that their voice will be heard, that they will be taken seriously, and they won’t be marginalised because of who they are, or where they come from,” says South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland, reacting to new plans unveiled by the Prime Minister to clamp down on grooming gangs.
The Prime Minister has announced this week that a new Grooming Gangs Taskforce will see specialist officers brought in to assist police forces across the country with live child sexual exploitation and grooming investigations to bring more of these despicable criminals to justice.
Led by the police and supported by the National Crime Agency, the taskforce will be made up of officers with extensive experience in undertaking grooming gang investigations. They will provide crucial support to forces across the country to root out grooming gangs and put more perpetrators behind bars.
Data analysts will work alongside the taskforce using cutting-edge data and intelligence to identify the types of criminals who carry out these offences, helping police forces across the country catch offenders who might otherwise be missed. This will also include police recorded ethnicity data to make sure suspects cannot evade justice because of cultural sensitivities.
This will include better data on the make-up of grooming gangs, including ethnicity, to make sure suspects cannot hide behind cultural sensitivities as a way to evade justice.
Alongside the new taskforce, the Prime Minister has pledged to make sure grooming gang members and their ring leaders receive the toughest possible sentences.
Legislation will be introduced to make being the leader of or involved in a grooming gang a statutory aggravating factor during sentencing. This reflects the Government’s unwavering commitment to make sure these offenders face the toughest sentences for their crimes and the longest time behind bars.
Former Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, Sir Robert Buckland MP said:
“There have been times in our past where for whatever reason, cultural sensitivities have been put first and foremost, and that’s wrong.
“Abuse is abuse. We need to call it out, wherever it comes from, whoever does it.
“We need to listen to the victims of crime and make sure they are supported. That has always been my approach.
“Follow the evidence, and follow it wherever it leads, without fear or favour.”
Speaking ahead of the taskforce launch, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“The safety of women and girls is paramount. For too long, political correctness has stopped us from weeding out vile criminals who prey on children and young women. We will stop at nothing to stamp out these dangerous gangs.”