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Letters— Police and council to blame for ignoring abuse of children

The police and the council cared much more about their reputation than protecting the lives of vulnerable young people
Issue 2811

The police and the council covered up abuse

The failings of the police and council in Oldham left a huge number of young people vulnerable to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).  This is the conclusion of yet another review of a public body which has utterly failed in its duty of care.  

Oldham is the latest borough following Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford to be condemned by an independent review. The report notes that there were multiple incidences where CSE was reported.  But officers and the police failed to adhere to procedures which would have protected young people. 

It also notes how the police failed to inform the council of allegations of child sexual abuse by the ringleader of a grooming network.  This person was then able to gain employment at the council as a welfare rights officer and was later convicted of 30 child rape offences. Both the police and the council were further found to have avoided giving evidence to the select committee. 

While the report states that there was no attempt to cover up the scale of CSE in the borough completely, the extent of the abuse was downplayed to maintain the council’s reputation. The police prioritised this well above the welfare of children.

It is clear, as in all the findings of the independent reviews of all these councils and police forces, that the welfare of these vulnerable young people was never a priority. 

Instead those in charge made a choice not to care. The patterns of abuse were known and evidenced over and over. Victims were blamed and seen as complicit in their own exploitation. The suffering of victims, some as young as 11 years old, was treated with contempt. 

This is yet another example of the police lining up with corrupt and incompetent officialsIt is only for the bravery of the survivors in coming forward that their negligence is being exposed today. 

Jill Adams 


‘Join the pickets,’ say XR activists 

I’m a member of Extinction Rebellion (XR) and I attended RMT union picket lines at Rickmansworth railway station, in west London, last week.  We were interested in how strikers would receive us. Unfortunately there hasn’t always been an understanding within XR about the importance of workers in the movement.

Often in XR we talk about how we can bring the system down, but there’s not always an understanding that workers have the power to do that.  Of the three members of our group, two of us are trade unionists, myself included. One of us had never been in a trade union.

I think this person’s opinion was changed when they talked to the strikers.  Instead of thinking that we were there as XR to convince people there is a climate emergency, they came away with a greater sense that our struggles are linked. 

Strikers agreed that we need to incentivise people to use public transport, that we need more local stations and that destructive projects like HS2 aren’t the answer. Those on the picket line really appreciated us being there, and we left with a renewed sense of hope for greater unity. 

Seeing XR groups across Britain on picket lines was really great. It feels like people are finally starting to join the dots. 

Jenny Cooper 

XR Brent

Migrants are scared to access vital treatment 

At a recent Filipino cultural event in Waltham Forest, east London, the organisers arranged for the local hospital diabetes team to offer free checks.

This is important because, despite no British data, research from the US shows the risk of developing type two diabetes is 2.5 times higher for Filipino American adults compared to white adults in the US. About 100 people received checks during the day. Many had not been seen by a GP or other health professional in years, even decades.

The NHS’s hostile environment is deterring people without status from seeking vital treatment, even though they are entitled to it.  With the Tory government doubling down on policies that scapegoat migrants and refugees, it’s up to health workers and unions to defend health care for all. 

Jim Fagan

East London

Stand against attacks on MP Begum

Supporters of Palestinian rights must affirm our support for Labour’s Poplar and Limehouse MP Apsana Begum.  Begum, who is the first Muslim woman who wears a headscarf to become an MP, has been the victim of numerous vicious attacks since she was elected in 2019. 

Newspaper reports have suggested that Begum’s principled stand on Palestine somehow conflicts with her role in representing her constituents at a local level.  This is an insult to Begum as a hard working constituency MP and also a gross insult to the community in east London as a whole. 

It implies an indifference on the part of local residents to the rights of oppressed people suffering elsewhere in the world. Begum deserves support for her stance, and for her steadfastness in the face of the vilification she has received from some as a result of it.

And it is clear that Begum’s principled stand on Palestine is very widely shared in our community. Both Tower Hamlets and Newham Palestine Solidarity Campaign have written a statement in support of Begum and against the abuse she has received. 

Rob Ferguson 

East London

Stand with the rail strikers

Funny how we were told, only recently, that rail workers were “essential’ and “key workers”, but now the Tory press has them cast as panto villains. 

Why should rail workers bear the brunt of the cost of living crisis the Tories knew was coming yet failed to alleviate?

Mark Sohn 

On Facebook 

  • Let’s hope the Trade Union Congress and the unions pull their finger out and show this country the power that unions hold.

Dobbie Adobe

On Facebook

More workers will now go hungry

The cost of living crisis is here, and I see it every time I go to the supermarket. 

In the last few months  I’ve seen the price of my weekly shop soar. Items like pasta and butter are going up and up. 

My question is how long will it be before ordinary people are sick of paying a premium to afford the basics?  

Caitlin Douglas 


Don’t believe Uber’s spin

I’ve noticed an advert recently for Uber on YouTube.  It shows the benefits of being an Uber driver—paid holidays, pension scheme and sick pay. Uber only offers those things because it lost its employment case in Britain. 

Now it pretends these are some great thing that Uber itself offered. 

Nick Stennett

On Facebook

A big royal racist insult 

I can’t believe Prince William and Kate were carted out to reveal the Windrush monument this week. It’s insulting because the royal’s wealth and affluence is built on empire, slavery and racism.

David Shepherd


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