Rochdale sex gang prosecutor blasts Northumbria police for paying child rapist £10,000

Northumbria Police: Paying £10k to a child rapist 'should have been the last measure to think about', says former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal

Nazir Afzal says police could have used plenty of other means to bust the sex gang

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The man who led the prosecution of the Rochdale child sex gang has said Northumbria Police were wrong to pay a convicted child rapist nearly £10,000 to bust a paedophile ring.

Eighteen people have been convicted of or admitted charges ranging from rape to inciting prostituition, following a series of trials at Newcastle Crown Court. However much of the media attention has fallen on a payment of more than £9,600 to a convicted paedophile to infiltrate the gang and spy on sex parties.

Nazir Afzal told Julia Hartley-Brewer that "putting a predator with other predators in the company of children is not without danger."

He added that much of the infiltrator's evidence was thrown out of court for being unreliable, adding "We could use surveillance, technology, listening devices, an informant who wasn’t a child rapist, there are lots of [other] means by which to do it.

"This should have been the last thing to be thinking about, and I’m uncomfortable with the fact this method has been used. Had I advised them, I wouldn't have done that."

Almost the entire gang were from a Muslim background, leading sections of the media to suggest paedophilia and grooming were particularly prevalent within the Islamic community.

Afzal, a Muslim himself, said: "Yes it is an issue with the Muslim community. It is an issue with the Pakistani, Kashmiri, Bengali communities.

"When it comes to this type of street grooming, disproportionately you find these groups are engaged.

"They find somebody who is extremely vulnerable, chaotic and troubled, they groom them, they manipulate them, and they pass them round. 

"I can't begin to tell you the number of times I've asked for research to be carried out, I did in front of Parliament five years ago, but no-one is doing that. It may well be to do with political correctness."

Afzal said the problem is "nothing to do with Islam," however there is "cultural baggage" from the gender inequality witnessed in the Muslim world.

Ultimately, however, "what drives them is they’re in a group of people who think they can get away with it. They’ve sadly been able to get away with this because the authorities have been turning a blind eye to it."

Going forward, Afzal said Muslim communities must face up to this problem, and those who think abuse might be taking place must speak out to help victims.

For Muslim and Asian victims, he said, "the difficulty they face coming forward is it’s harder for them. Very often the families will say to the victim that they’ve brought this on themselves. They’re reluctant to come forward.

"After Rochdale, I kept saying to people if they were concerned when they saw a 59-year-old Asian or Pakistani man driving a 14-year-old white girl around all the time.

"It beggars belief we rely entirely on the accounts of the victims and people don’t  come forward to report what they’ve seen. It’s an issue for communities to try to identify perpetrators victims, it’s an issue for police to learn from mistakes. Even in this case, there were mistakes made early doors."

Listen above.

Comments