Secret report on UK grooming gangs could be made public after outcry

The government’s refusal to publish a secret probe into the “characteristics” of grooming gangs could be debated by MPs.

More than 100,000 people have signed an official petition calling for the report to be published.

It could strong-arm ministers after they claimed there was no “public interest” in the review.

Sajid Javid pledged the investigation when he was Home Secretary in July 2018.

He revealed convicted grooming gangs had been “disproportionately from a Pakistani background”.

The MP said at the time: “I will not let cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem and doing something about it.”

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Whitehall chiefs were ordered to “explore the particular contexts and characteristics” of grooming gangs.

But the government later backtracked and claimed the work was only for internal use.

Victims of the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal slammed the government for making “empty promises”.

Officers ignored the sexual abuse of at least 1,400 children by Pakistani groups in south Yorkshire over fears they would be called racist.

The petition states: “We, the British public, demand the release of the official research on grooming gangs undertaken by the government in full.”

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Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: “There must be no more cover-ups around these horrific crimes.

“Many of the girls will never recover from the abuse they suffered and they and their families deserve all the facts. This report should be published.”

The Home Office said it will publish a national plan with a “whole system response to all forms of child sexual abuse”.

A spokesperson said: “We’re pursuing work on a number of fronts to understand the characteristics of group-based offending and the contexts in which it occurs.”

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