Inquiry call over Telford child sex exploitation

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Calls are being made for a new inquiry into child sexual exploitation in a town following further allegations.

A Sunday Mirror investigation claimed hundreds of girls were abused in Telford, Shropshire, dating back to the 1980s.

The town's MP, Lucy Allan, said she would raise the issue in Parliament and is calling for independent inquiry.

West Mercia Police said it takes all allegations "extremely seriously" but the latest information is "not new".

The Sunday Mirror gathered allegations of abuse, said to include cases involving girls as young as 11, who were drugged, beaten and raped.

Assistant Chief Constable of West Mercia Police, Martin Evans, said tackling offences of child sexual exploitation is a priority.

He said the issue has gained prominence in Telford because of high profile cases, like Operation Chalice in 2013.

But he claimed a number of changes have been made, with the Home Office and Ofsted conducting inspections to see how agencies in Telford are working to tackle the issue.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Shropshire John Campion said "this horrific crime is happening in our communities now and has been for many years" and that it was a "continued area of focus" by police.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in England and Wales has confirmed it has plans to look into Telford as part of its investigation into child sexual exploitation by groups and gangs.

The inquiry was set up in 2014 and is being led by Prof Alexis Jay, who headed the inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Councillor Shaun Davies, intends to write to the Home Office to ask them to bring the review forward.

Conservative Ms Allan said the latest reports are "serious and shocking" and she hoped the decision in 2016 not to conduct an independent review into the problem would be reconsidered.

She said: "The IICSA will not investigate whether any of the authorities in Telford should be accountable. That is why we must have an independent inquiry into what happened in Telford; such an inquiry is outside the current scope of the IICSA."