Rishi Sunak's Attack On 'Political Correctness' Is Missing One Key Point

A Home Office report showed most grooming gang members are not from an ethnic minority.
Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman take part in a meeting of the Grooming Gang Taskforce during a visit to the offices of the NSPCC in Leeds.
Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman take part in a meeting of the Grooming Gang Taskforce during a visit to the offices of the NSPCC in Leeds.
LINDSEY PARNABY via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has today launched a new policy to “stamp out” grooming gangs who sexually exploit children.

The prime minister said “political correctness” was to blame for the failure to tackle the problem until now.

That was an apparent reference to high-profile grooming cases in the north of England involving gangs of men from an Asian background.

Home secretary Suella Braverman was more explicit yesterday morning, telling Sky News: “What we’ve seen is a practice whereby vulnerable white English girls, sometimes in care, sometimes who are in challenging circumstances, being pursued and raped and drugged and harmed by gangs of British Pakistani men who’ve worked in child abuse rings or networks.

“It’s now down to the authorities to track these perpetrators down without fear or favour relentlessly and bring them to justice.

“We’ve seen institutions and state agencies, whether it’s social workers, teachers, the police, turn a blind eye to these signs of abuse out of political correctness, out of fear of being called racists, out of fear of being called bigoted.”

But a report by Braverman’s own government department into group-based child sexual exploitation (CSE) said the majority of perpetrators were actually white.

The Home Office study, published in December 2020, said: “Research has found that group-based CSE offenders are most commonly white.

“Some studies suggest an over-representation of black and Asian offenders relative to the demographics of national populations.

“However, it is not possible to conclude that this is representative of all group-based CSE offending.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer today agreed with the PM that political correctness should not “get in the way” of prosecuting grooming gangs.

But he added: “The vast majority of sexual abuse cases do not involve those of ethnic minorities and so I am all for clamping down on any kind of case, but if we are going to be serious we have to be honest about what the overlook is.”

Meanwhile, Peter Wanless, chief executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, also stressed that race should not be the sole focus on the issue.

He said: “Child sexual exploitation by organised networks is one pernicious form of abuse and it’s welcome to see the government focus on disrupting perpetrators and protecting victims.

“This must be backed up with funding for services to help child victims recover and support for a justice system that is struggling to cope.

“It’s also vital we remember that any child can be a victim of child sexual exploitation and adult perpetrators do not just come from one background.

“Sexual predators will target the most vulnerable and accessible children in society and there must be a focus on more than just race so we do not create new blind spots that prevent victims from being identified.”


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