British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has launched an investigation into the ethnic origin of sexual grooming gangs in the UK, saying researchers will look at “particular characteristics” of such networks.
The investigation will also try to determine why British Pakistanis are disproportionately represented in sexual grooming networks.
Secretary Javid insisted that this investigation is necessary to help authorities tackle grooming gangs, saying the government “attaches the highest priority to tackling child sexual exploitation.”
In 2017, Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, controversially claimed that Britain “has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls,” but it seems the government has now acknowledged the issue and is setting about tackling it.
The Labour MP has continued to receive death threats for her comment, and, via a letter, the home secretary told MP Champion he’d be exploring her allegations.
“MPs should be able to do their job without being threatened or intimidated in any way. Sarah Champion has my full support. My officials have been working with investigating officers in relevant cases, and with the National Crime Agency, to establish the particular characteristics and contexts associated with this type of offending,” Javid wrote.
Earlier, a cross-party group of MPs told the home secretary they were “alarmed by the similarities in cases across the country.”
Secretary Javid himself is of Pakistani heritage and was only recently appointed home secretary after Amber Rudd was forced to resign after she mislead a parliamentary committee about the use of deportation targets in the Home Office.
Britons have reacted to the investigation on social media, with some applauding the initiative while others called for a broader investigation.
— Hippie-Scumbag (@ItsGraceKelly) July 26, 2018
— Nome della Penna (@NomedellaPenna) July 26, 2018
— Belfast Citizen (@BelfastCitizen) July 26, 2018
Despite some opposition to the investigation, the Home Office will be pushing on with it and will take action to tackle sexual grooming in the British Pakistani community if necessary.
“If evidence suggests that there are cultural factors that may be driving certain types of offending, we are fully committed to addressing these,” a Home Office spokesperson said.