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Devon and Cornwall police must improve how it tackles child sexual exploitation

A report says Devon and Cornwall Police has a 'lack of understanding' of the extent of child exploitation across the force area. Credit: PA: Fabian Stratenschulte

A report says Devon and Cornwall Police has a 'lack of understanding' of the extent of child exploitation across the force area.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found the way officers deal with children who regularly go missing was highlighted as a serious concern which needs to be improved.

Devon and Cornwall Police demonstrated a strong commitment to improving services for the protection of vulnerable people. However, while we found a number of examples of good work to protect children, this commitment has not yet resulted in consistently improved outcomes for children.

We were concerned to find that in a significant number of cases we looked at, poor supervision and record keeping had undermined decision making and safeguarding measures. Some serious cases were investigated by non-specialist officers, resulting in delays, and potential risks posed by alleged offenders not being considered.

The force must also improve how it tackles child sexual exploitation. While the force is taking some steps to address this, it still has much more to do to demonstrate that it is able to effectively identify and safeguard children at risk. We found a concerning case involving a 15 year old girl who, in August 2014, was identified at being at risk of exploitation by an older man. We found no evidence that a longer-term safeguarding plan had been put in place to protect the girl from further exploitation and, at the time of the inspection, the girl still had not been spoken to by police. This is not acceptable.

– Wendy Williams, HM Inspector of Constabulary

Devon and Cornwall Police says it welcomes the report and its acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment to improving services safeguarding children.

We are working hard to deliver improved outcomes for children and work that has been undertaken by the Force has shown that we have to improve recording standards, as often a great deal of work has taken place but has not been captured within the Force’s IT systems.

In respect of Child Sexual Exploitation, the Force has a dedicated team which deal with these types of offences and we are working with all of our partners to deliver the standards contained within the Peninsula Protocol and Strategy.

The Force also recognises the importance of not detaining children and young people in custody and at the time of the inspection we were working with children’s services across the peninsula to ensure appropriate arrangements are put into place to avoid this from occurring.

– Detective Superintendent Paul Northcott, Head of Devon and Cornwall’s public protection unit

Men sentenced to total of 40 years for child exploitation

Clockwise: Mohamed Jumale, Omar Jumale, Said Zakaria, Mohamed Dahir, Abdirashid Abdulahi, Jusef Abdirizak, Sakariah Sheikh Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

Mohamed Jumale, Omar Jumale, Said Zakaria, Mohamed Dahir, Abdirashid Abdulahi, Jusef Abdirizak, Sakariah Sheikh

Seven men have been sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to a total of just over 40 years for child sexual exploitation offences. The men were convicted as a result of Operation Brooke, a lengthy investigation by Avon and Somerset Police into the grooming and sexual exploitation of under-age girls in Bristol.

  • Mohamed Jumale has been sentenced to 10 years
  • Omar Jumale has been sentenced to 2 years
  • Mohamed Dahir has been sentenced to 2 years
  • Said Zakaria has been sentenced to 11 years
  • Jusef Abdirizak has been sentenced to 7.5 years
  • Abdirashid Abdulah has been sentenced to 4 years
  • Sakariah Sheikh has been sentenced to 4 years

7 men to be sentenced for child sex exploitation

Clockwise: Mohamed Jumale, Omar Jumale, Said Zakaria, Mohamed Dahir, Abdirashid Abdulahi, Jusef Abdirizak, Sakariah Sheikh Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

Seven men are due to be sentenced later after they were convicted of child exploitation charges against four teenage girls in Bristol.

The men, who are all of Somali descent, were found guilty of charges including rape and inciting child prostitution. It follows the largest ever investigation into child sexual exploitation in Bristol.

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Who to call if you've been affected by sex exploitation

If you have been affected by the child exploitation issued raised in these trials, the following charities are on hand to offer help and support.

Follow the blue links to their websites:

  • Action for Children - works directly with over 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers in the UK, tackling issues like abuse and child neglect

  • Barnardo's - the UK's largest children's charity, with a strong focus on preventing domestic violence

  • Kids Company - a Bristol-based charity helping the city's marginalised children and young people with all aspects of their lives

  • Lucy Faithfull Foundation - the only UK-wide child protection charity dedicated solely to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused

  • NAPAC - the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, set up as a result of a key recommendation by the National Commission of Inquiry into the Prevention of Child Abuse. The Association runs a support line for adults who have suffered any type of abuse in childhood

  • NSPCC - the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a leading UK charity which aims to end all forms of child abuse

  • Refuge - an anti-domestic violence charity for women and children, which operates a 24-hour helpline

Somali community on child exploitation convictions

The Somali community has issued a statement following the conviction of 13 Somali men for child sexual exploitation offences

The community is deeply shocked and shaken by the outcome of this case. They are unforgivable acts of cruelty against the most vulnerable members of our community. Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims and their families whomust be experiencing extreme trauma and pain.

The Muslim communities in Bristol would like to make it absolutely clear we wholeheartedly condemn these dreadful evil acts. It is right and appropriate that those responsible, and found guilty through our judiciary process, are punished to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of who they are.

The grooming of children, and child abuse are crimes, which impact on all sections of our society, irrespective of class, colour, faith or race. It is therefore everyone’s duty to ensure we protect the most vulnerable members of our community and work with the appropriate authorities to identify anyone at risk of falling victim to these appalling crimes.

– Bristol Somali Forum
  1. National

Abuse ring exploited teenage girl social workers left living alone

Defendants in the Bristol abuse ring were tried in two separate trials at Bristol Crown Court this year.

The first trial centred on a group of Somali drug dealers in Bristol and their exploitation of primarily one teenage girl.

She had been moved into a flat on her own in Bristol and left almost unsupervised by social workers from outside the city.

Liban Abdi, 21, Mustapha Farah, 21, Arafat Osman, 20, Idleh Osman, 22, Abdulahi Aden, 20, Said Zakaria, 22, Mustafa Deria, 22, and Mohamed Jama, 20, were all jailed for between 18 months and 13 years for either child sexual exploitation or drugs offences.

The second trial focused on another group of young Somali men - but included Zakaria, whose nickname was 'Target' - and their grooming and subsequent sexual abuse of young girls in Bristol.

Mohamed Jumale, 24, Mohamed Dahir, 22, Zakaria, Jusuf Abdizirak, 20, Omar Jumale, 20, Abdirashid Abdulahi, 21 and Sakariah Sheik, 21, were all convicted of child sexual exploitation offences. They will be sentenced tomorrow.

The shocking case can only be reported now after restrictions placed upon the media were lifted at the conclusion of the second trial.

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