Protecting the most vulnerable people in society is the most valuable thing that a person in public office can do. This is a central plank of my manifesto as Independent candidate for the Police & Crime Commissioner role (see http://www.gillianradcliffe4PCC.com).
I make no comment on what has happened to date. Let’s be clear: the primary blame lies with the perpetrators of these terrible abuses, along with those who protect and condone those offenders, and not with the safeguarding authorities.
I want to focus on what is happening right now and urge Rotherham Council to take positive action. It is never too late to do something positive to protect tomorrow’s victims.
The police will doubtless be doing so from an operational perspective and investigations are probably ongoing as I write. The council can, if it wants to, also make a difference right now and this requires being proactive and vociferous in campaigning not around politics but around prevention.
For example, educating people about this creeping menace; using your community contacts to mobilise people to great vigilance to avoid more children being victims of such monstrous perpetrators; demonstrating that this is not about one racial community against another but about all decent people making a stand against the depraved; getting the message across to young people in schools and through social media. Take action. Silence is not an option and leaves you open to accusations that you are doing nothing.
I have ambitions to be PCC because I’ve spent 23 years in criminal justice training for such an opportunity. I have the skills and experience and I can make a difference. I want to beat Shaun Wright – and allcomers – in the election. But I will support the council, and Councillor Wright, in any action to end the awful exploitation of children. It is an unspeakable form of hate crime and we must work together to crush it. Let me know if I can help.
Gillian Radcliffe also makes this rather sensible proposal for the way forward:
Election campaigns aside, I know we are all concerned about preventing more abuses of this kind and we should be uniting. How about Rotherham Council host a (non-political) conference involving all the agencies and community groups? We could hear from some experts in the field and have break-out groups drawing up practical plans on preventing future tragedies. Count me in to help in any way I can.