Critics won't stop me from tackling grooming gangs, says Braverman

Woke critics won’t stop me from tackling grooming gangs, pledges Suella Braverman as she rolls out plans for a new taskforce

  • Braverman singled out British Pakistani men when discussing grooming gangs
  • The Home Secretary was accused of ‘dog whistle’ politics by Labour opposition

The Home Secretary has insisted she was right to single out British Pakistani men when discussing plans for a new taskforce to tackle grooming gangs.

Suella Braverman was accused of ‘dog whistle’ politics by Labour after she highlighted the racial backgrounds of those involved in some of the UK’s most high-profile grooming cases.

Labour and the NSPCC said she risked creating new ‘blind spots’ by focusing only on perpetrators from a single ethnic group while she also faced accusations of racism.

But after meeting victims in Rochdale and Rotherham yesterday, Mrs Braverman doubled down on her comments saying it was ‘not racist to tell the truth’ about grooming gangs.

Suella Braverman was accused of ‘dog whistle’ politics by Labour. Pictured: British Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives for a cabinet meeting at Downing Street on March 28, 2023

Suella Braverman giving a statement on the Baroness Casey Review into the Metropolitan Police Service, in the House of Commons in London, on March 21, 2023

Mrs Braverman told the Daily Mail: ‘Whilst of course the vast majority of British Pakistani individuals are law abiding it is clear the majority of perpetrators in these areas have been from the British Pakistani community and it is important that we don’t let political correctness get in the way. Hiding away from this fact does a disservice to victims.’ Asked about Labour’s criticism, she said: ‘I think for Labour to make crass political attacks is not helpful when we are trying to fix a problem and ultimately secure justice for victims.’

The Home Secretary and the Prime Minister were in Leeds yesterday to announce a new set of measures aimed at tackling grooming gangs, including a new police taskforce of specialist officers, tougher sentences, and a consultation on mandatory reporting for adults working with children.

The Prime Minister said the measures would help ‘root out the evil perpetrated by grooming gangs’. The crackdown follows scandals in which the organised sexual exploitation of thousands of children in towns including Rotherham, Telford and Rochdale went unchecked, in part because officials feared being branded racist or fuelling the far-Right.

No10 defended Mrs Braverman’s remarks yesterday but stressed a lack of evidence linking child exploitation and ethnicity.

No10 has defended Mrs Braverman’s remarks yesterday. Pictured: Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman during a visit to a hotel in Rochdale today

The Labour Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, called the comments a ‘dog whistle’ – a coded message designed to appeal to a certain group. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told the BBC the Government’s plans were ‘far too inadequate for the scale of the problem’ and accused ministers of ‘chasing headlines’.

Rochdale grooming victim Sammy Woodward, who was 14 when she was abused, said it was wrong to ignore the race of the perpetrators but questioned the timing of the announcement, ahead of May’s local elections.

A Home Office report from 2020 looking at group-based child sexual exploitation found it was not possible to conclude whether any particular ethnic group was disproportionately represented, although overall the majority of offenders were young white men.

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