'Ethnicity is a factor' in grooming, says Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk

 

Ethnicity is a factor in on-street grooming cases, a Labour MP representing the town at the centre of a major child exploitation case has said.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk criticised police for saying the case of nine Asian men convicted for grooming and abusing white girls was not a racial issue.

Similar abuse is still continuing in the Lancashire town, he told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme.

"In terms of whether it is still going on I suspect it probably is. The intelligence that I receive as a Member of Parliament, and I keep my ear close to the ground, is that this sort of abuse is still occurring.

"Having said that I think the various agencies involved are more alert to it and are doing more about it. I would also say that I think it is still going on not just in places like Rochdale but right across the country."

Mr Danczuk said there was "no doubt" that ethnicity was a factor in such cases.

"We still need a breakthrough, I think, in terms of the Asian community," he said. "I think there has to be some acknowledgement. I think there has been some denial in terms of this being a problem and I've seen that over the last couple of years there's been a tendency not to want to speak about it in terms of ethnicity.

"I think that's been unhelpful. There is still more to be done I think."

Mr Danczuk dismissed suggestions made by Greater Manchester Police that the case was not about race.

He said: "I think Greater Manchester Police's attitude towards this in terms of ethnicity is just wholly and completely wrong, though I have to say there are some politicians that have taken a similar view to Greater Manchester Police.

"There is no doubt about it, ethnicity is a factor in this type of abuse, this on-street grooming. There's no doubt about it, ethnicity is a factor and I think by saying so I think it makes it easier for us to combat it."

PA