Telford child sex abuse: Lessons need to be learned from inquiry, says MP Lucy Allan

The Telford Sexual Exploitation Independent Inquiry revealed key agencies dismissed exploitation as ‘child prostitution’ and child abuse as well as exploitation was ignored Credit: Jacob King/PA

Lessons must be learned nationwide from a damning report into the sexual exploitation of children in Telford, ministers have heard.

Conservative MP for Telford, Lucy Allan, told the Commons she hopes the inquiry can be "disseminated right across the country".

She adds: "This inquiry has relevance for every council, for every police force and it marks a turning point in the fight against CSE and the organisational culture and attitudes which have for so long allowed this awful crime to pass unnoticed."

The inquiry, led by Tom Crowther QC, concluded in July that more than 1,000 children were sexually exploited over at least 30 years in the Shropshire town amid "shocking" police and council failings.

As MPs debated the findings, DUP MP for Strangford, Jim Shannon, said: "It is always very hard to listen to stories because they are really heart-rending, they are very personal and I think we all accept the issues are real for her and for her constituency."

Mr Shannon adds: "But they are also real – as she has referred to – across the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

"Every police force, every authority, every public body can learn from this report."

"Is it her hope that this report will be hopefully dispersed across the whole of the United Kingdom by the minister, if at all possible, to ensure we can all learn everywhere for the betterment of the children?"

Ms Allan said: "He makes exactly the point that I would like the minister to take away from this debate.

"There is so much learning in the Tom Crowther report that could be widely disseminated right across the country and I am very grateful to him for making that point."

Seven men were jailed in 2013 following Operation Chalice, a police probe into child prostitution in the Telford area. Credit: West Mercia Police

Ms Allan commended West Mercia Police’s apology for their failings but was critical of the local council’s response.

She urged them to “work together with our community to implement all the inquiry’s recommendations”.

“I hope that CSE (child sexual exploitation) victims and survivors in Telford and elsewhere feel confident that they are now being taken seriously, and that together they have been able to shine a light on this issue and that no-one anywhere is going to be complacent anywhere about CSE in the future,” the Telford MP added.

Had police “done its most basic job” in acting on reports of such crime, unnecessary suffering and deaths of children may have been avoided, the report found.

West Mercia Police have investigated reports into the Telford sex abuse ring Credit: PA

CSE reportedly went “unchecked” because of failures to investigate offenders and protect children amid fears probes into Asian men would “inflame racial tensions”.

Both the council and police have apologised to victims.

The Home Office said the failings "demand a swift and strong response".

Home Office minister Amanda Solloway said: "The failings uncovered in Telford and elsewhere undoubtedly demand a swift and strong local response.

"And the Government is ensuring that lessons are learned right across England and Wales through our strategic national approach.

"We’re working across central and local government, law enforcement and the wider criminal justice system, and continue to be recognised as a global leader in addressing this threat."

She added: "Victims and survivors have been failed in the past, and that is absolutely utterly unacceptable.

"Through increased investment in specialist services, we’re determined to ensure the victims and survivors get the help and support they need to rebuild their lives."

If you or someone you know is affected by the issues raised in this article, you can get help by contacting:

  • West Mercia Police - Have specially trained officers who will listen to you and treat you with sensitivity and compassion, click here

  • Voluntary organisations, such as Rape CrisisThe Survivors Trust and Woman's aid.

  • The Rape Crisis national freephone helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12 to 2.30pm and 7 to 9.30pm every day of the year).

  • A hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department. A doctor or practice nurse at your GP surgery.

  • A genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic, a contraceptive clinic,  young people's service.

  • For mental health advice, Samaritans operate a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at

  • Papyrus offers mental health support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am – midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to