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  • "Last time Mick Gradwell spoke through the LET he was presented as a self appointed unoffical spokesperson for Lancashire Police. The Lancashire Police worryingly remained silent.
    Once again he tells of something he knew way back in 1979 onwards but decided to keep it to himself until now.
    Again the Lancashire Police remain silent.
    I'm with Rich Riley on this one.
    Why has he not spoken out about this in the last 32 years or so that he knew all about it and was a 'targetable' problem?
    In his words, He clearly knew there were gangs of Asian men in either MERCS or BMW cars outside nightclubs appoaching drunk white women to rape and sexually molest them!
    If he knew this and did nothing is that not a neglect of his duty?
    I presume that the LET is paying him for his uncorroberated opinion?
    Would it not be better to ask the Police via their home office crime statistics how many Asian men or even Pakistani men or more Muslim men (as Jack Straw refers to) since 1979 have been convicted of rape or sexual offences compared against 'other' men of non muslim origin.
    How many similar offences were reported where the suspect(s) were Asian men as opposed to white men and remain undetected?
    They have those figures and I guess it could be freely given.
    Surely the LET being a good investigative paper would check the facts to support Mick Gradwells supposition.
    After all as a senior detective that is what he would have done isnt it!
    I applaud any measure to tackle real sexual offences commited by any person regardless of race,colour or creed.
    Unless Mick Gradwell has started his own Investigation company and intends to take a professional and accountable lead on these offences I suggest he now leaves it to the Police who are accountable and should only deal in facts and evidence."
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Sex grooming debate: What Straw said so carefully is true

Sex grooming debate: Former police chief Mick Gradwell

Sex grooming debate: Former police chief Mick Gradwell

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

FORMER Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell, who was East Lancashire’s top detective when he retired from the force last year, tells why he agrees with Jack Straw's controversial comments on sex grooming.

WHEN I came to Blackburn in the 1970s, one of my main issues was the gangs of Asian men outside the old nightclub on top of the shopping centre who were picking up drunk white girls, specifically to abuse them.

These were cars full of Asian lads in BMWs and Mercedes, offering lifts home to these young women, leading to incidents of rape and sexual assaults.

From the first time I was posted to East Lancashire it has been a problem.

What Jack Straw has said so carefully is true: There is a problem with some members of the Pakistani community targeting young women in this way. In recent years we have seen it specifically with victims aged just 14, 15 or 16-years-old who are out on the streets at night and groomed by predatory gangs.

For people to just come out and call Mr Straw racist is wrong.

There must be a debate, not on his right to make the comments but on the issue itself because if we can’t do that then we can’t be honest about the issues that currently affect our communities.

During the past decade there has been Operation Engage in Blackburn and Operation Awaken in Blackpool as the police has been able to feel more open about the situation.

In the past there have been major fears of being seen as racist, especially after the Stephen Lawrence inquiry at the Met police said the force was institutionally racist.

Because of the sensitivities, saying that there is an issue in the way that Mr Straw did is very brave but it needs to be said so there can be a serious and informed debate.

What no-one is saying is that the Pakistani community is responsible for the majority of sex crimes: This is just an element of sex crimes in general.

This is a specific problem within a group of people in a minority community.

But what we are saying is that on this specific issue there is a problem that needs addressing.

More however needs to be done to publicise the work that is ongoing.

How many Lancashire Telegraph readers know what Operation Engage is? The operation has seen millions of pounds invested but who is heading it up from the police?

There is no high-profile leader to this operation and there needs to be.

Even if it is just for people in the community to understand that there is a problem but also a lot of working being completed to tackle it.

There must be a debate but it must be thoughtful and balanced and sensitively handled.

Debate is healthy and the only way that advances can be made.

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