I think we have to be careful using terms like mob rule…elected officials have the right to determine local by-laws, but in a democracy citizens have a right to protest and demonstrate – legally.
There is a bigger question around fears that the Pakistani community leaders (Mahroof, Shabana, Shaukat and gone but not forgotten Akhtar) are more inclined to encourage denial than confront the issue of CSE & the abuse of women by some males within their ethnic community.
Their argument is is undeniable, women and child sex abuse is all too common within almost every ethnicity and creed, it is sadly a global phenomena.
However if it was happening “down my street,” and in my wider family/clan system I hope I would act. I may not be able to stop the global trade but I can act where I see injustice, where I can do something. Read Jay on the subject of their performance
Jay showed that it is definitely happening in a big way within their community, among a sector they are uniquely positioned to understand….the taxi drivers. Yet their actions have merely been to deny all knowledge, and complain about racism…real or imagined. Oh, and yes, the formation of some half hearted groups bemoaning CSE, essentially formed from their relatives to smokescreen their lack of activity.
Taxi drivers and landlords clearly don’t want anything that might increase their costs. But the question must be put back to them, what do you know about CSE,who did you know and what are you doing about it?
For here is the nub.
Long ago the Council started looking at means of improving control and accountability of taxi drivers, and landlords in our most deprived neighbourhoods. They pulled back from these actions ahead of of the 2014 local elections in order get the the Pakistani vote, and only resuscitated the by-laws process when the embarrassment of Jay showed how little they have done.
You only have to walk around our inner town areas and use the occasional taxi to see how bad some of them are. Rubbish housing and taxis that are old, dirty and often bereft of suspension.
Ask a taxi driver about business and they will inevitable tell you there are far too many drivers, meaning not enough business to maintain the quality of cars for a 21st century town. Ask a social worker about abuse of the Roma children and they will point you to those landlords whose racketeering is a key element in the cycle of drugs, CSE and illegal labour.
The reality is without taxi & landlord controls, just as with without hard firm policing, this town will not have a CSE prevention strategy worthy of the name. All the policies, procedures, strategies will come to nought, because there have always been laws and procedures…..what we have missed is controls and enforcement.
Now I will say something controversial.
I worked the taxis on and off in another city for a year. This was a big City, yet even there taxi driving proved to be a small world of people who tended to know what was happening in the trade.
I became aware of the prostitution runs, just as I became aware of who was fare pinching. Every taxi firm had a few drivers who were prepared to earn more cash by linking up punters with the prostitutes. I was once allocated such a run by mistake and refused to take the punter to the red light district, then complained when I got back to the office. I was never asked again, and probably was never the best paid driver.
You get to know who goes on the prostitution calls, either because some calls always go to them, or because of macho bragging about working on the edge, nobody was ashamed. There have been enough revelations by former taxi drivers on local radio in Sheffield, Bradford and elsewhere to back this up. I’m sure that in Rotherham many taxi drivers didn’t attach a stigma to under age sex, and for some bragging was quite open.
I believe that possibly a majority of drivers know the game, and the participants. Just as a private landlord knows the source of his tenants income.
So I have some questions.
What are the drivers and the landlords doing to liaise and inform the police as to who are the bad lads? What solutions do they propose, or do they even see a problem?
If Mahroof, Shabans, Showkat and Akhtar don’t support stronger regulation, what is their solution? [Here I have to point out that duck and diver Mahroof probably won’t know his position on the issue until he can guess the outcome of the vote.]
So far it seems they are keeping their mouths shut in english and very open in their vernacular. And I almost forgot.
They remain keen to apply the political stiletto within the still gated and protected domain of the local Labour Group…..Akhtar is trying to kid people he’s still a player, while Mahroof seemingly uses every tactic possible to malign and thereby silence his opponents.
Simon offered his prescription:
I have been in two situations recently where I heard from reputable sources of considerable amounts of solid evidence of cse perpetrators being passed to the police: in one case actual names numbering in the hundreds. And this was many years ago!
Yet only five perpetrators have been brought to justice in Rotherham so far and that was really down to the local communities not police or agencies. Can the police, or do the police really want, to protect children? Sometimes I wonder. Or, giving them the benefit of the doubt, do they feel genuinely that their hands are tied by legislation/procedure etc?
If so we, as a society need to make some brave decisions about sacrificing some liberties and rights for the sake of children at risk – especially if, as is feared, this scale of abuse is endemic across the nation.
We need to give the police a solid legislative framework that gives them real powers. In the meantime will the new PCC instil some backbone and a new culture?
If police do, in fact, lack solid evidence then could they not think outside the box to make suspected perpetrators’ lives a misery and make them think twice?
Sex with a minor is a crime, period, which on it’s own should be enough to secure convictions.
One way is, if you cannot clamp down on the men then clamp down on the means: the hotels, the bedsits, the taxis, the takeaways etc.
Go for traffic violation, environmental health violation, landlord regulation, taxi licensing, tax regulation – anything to let them know you are on their case and watching like hawks… anything to make it difficult, anything to make them think twice.
Stop and ask any group of men with young girls what they are doing. Move them on. Take details and let them know you are checking in about any past criminal record.
Patrol the streets, bus stations, school gates and parks, and five minutes later patrol them again and five minutes later do it again.
Invade the physical space that these perpetrators occupy. Of course someone will cry that this is an abuse of human rights.
Honestly I don’t give a ****. The human rights of potential victims outweigh all other considerations by far at present…