Boris Johnson’s government has rejected a petition signed by more than 120,000 people demanding the release of a report on the ethnic background of grooming rape gangs.
The no-stone-unturned investigation was announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel’s predecessor, Sajid Javid, in 2018, with a promise that he would “not let cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem and doing something about it”.
So-called grooming gangs had been found to be comprised overwhelmingly of Muslim men, usually although not always of Pakistani heritage, who preyed overwhelmingly on non-Muslim girls and young women, usually although not always working-class white girls.
After all the years of official failure on grooming gangs — which have never resulted in any individual senior police officer, bureaucrat, or current or former politician actually facing sanctions, despite multiple admissions that victims had been “collectively” let down — many members of the public were unsatisfied with this, to say the least, resorting to an official petition for the findings to be made public.
This quickly passed 10,000 signatures, necessitating an official response from the government, and then 100,000 signatures, meaning it must be considered for a full parliamentary debate.
After more than 50 days, the government has finally provided that response — the possibility of a parliamentary debate has not yet been discussed, likely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and, as before, rejected the demands for transparency, in the vaguest of terms.
“Child sexual abusers come from all walks of life, and from many different age groups, communities, ethnicities and faiths,” the response, provided by the Home Office, states, in the same politically terms Javid had suggested the report would get away from.
“It is right, proper and routine for the Government to carry out internal fact-finding work as part of policy development, as we do across a range of crime threats. Any insights gained from this important internal work will be used to inform our future action to end this devastating abuse, including the forthcoming Strategy,” they continued — leaving petitioners to infer that said fact-finding work will remain “internal”.