EXCLUSIVE: More than 30 arrested in Rotherham-style child sex grooming probe.. but still no charges
MORE than 30 people have been arrested as part of a probe into alleged Rotherham-style child sex abuse and grooming spanning the north of England.
Humberside Police, which is leading the investigation, made the latest two arrests this month outside of its boundaries in South Yorkshire and the North-West.
It brings the total number of people arrested during the 18-month operation, to 34.
A Humberside Police spokeswoman said: "A 34-year-old man from the South Yorkshire area and a 41-year-old man from the North-West were both arrested on suspicion of rape and facilitating sexual exploitation."
The two were bailed pending further enquiries. Detective Superintendent Laura Koscikiewicz said: “Following reports made in 2019, we have been conducting an investigation in relation to sexual offences against teenage girls in the Hull area and also outside of the Humberside force area.
“As part of this investigation four girls have disclosed offences to us that took place between 2017 and 2019. “Offences against two of the girls have taken place in Hull, with offences against the other two girls reported to have taken place outside of the Humberside force area." No one has been charged around 18 months into the probe and 23 suspects have already been released without charge, leading to fears the investigation was taking too long. They include eight who were arrested during the operation on drugs or other offences not directly connected to sexual exploitation. One woman, 35, was cautioned for allowing her premises to be allowed to be used for the supply of class A drugs. It leaves just one woman and nine men, including the two newly arrested, who remain suspects and have been bailed or released under investigation. The ten, who are aged from 21 to 45, were arrested on suspicion of a number of offences, including rape, sexual assault, voyeurism and facilitating child sexual exploitation. Ms Koscikiewicz added: "This is a lengthy and complex investigation and, while action was taken as soon as disclosures were made to police, it has been our priority to spend time helping the girls with difficult conversations and allowing them to confide and trust in us.
PROBE: Humberside Police has investigated allegations for 18 months with the latest arrests this month “Since those initial disclosures were made we have carried out extensive investigations into all the offences that have been reported. “Talking about sexual offences and exploitation can be an incredibly distressing experience, and the courage and bravery the girls have shown in coming forwards has been commendable. “Throughout this process, we have been in continuous contact with the girls – alongside support agencies and specialist teams – to help and encourage them in providing information and evidence to further the investigation. “That work is still ongoing and specialist officers are continuing to work with the girls to fully explore all possible lines of inquiry and any further disclosures. “Any reports of sexual offences and exploitation will always be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and we would always encourage anyone with information or who has been affected by these types of offences to please report it to us.” Some of the alleged victims have had contact with or been under the care of East Riding of Yorkshire Social Services. Ms Kosciewicz added: "Throughout the investigation we have also worked closely with partners in social care, children’s services, adult services and charities, thoroughly investigating any information that they have reported as a third party following disclosures from victims." Eoin Rush, director of children, families and schools at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: The council is very much aware of the allegations, but as there is an on-going police investigation it would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this stage as we would not wish to jeopardise the operation. "The council takes all allegations extremely seriously and will work with its partners to ensure the safety of all children in its care." In October 2019 Humberside Police arrested the first six suspects. The arrests were made a few weeks after Essex News and Investigations editor Jon Austin enquired about the progress of the investigation after a retired social services whistleblower claimed the case and other allegations of child sex grooming in Hull were not being taken seriously enough. A retired former senior social worker, who worked for Hull City Council through an agency, claimed the problem of child sex grooming in Hull was widespread, but he feared it was not being properly investigated after flagging concerns with MPs, police and local authorities.
Top image posed by model.