‘Child sex happening in Pendle’ claim

Coun. Paul White with Pendle Hill in the background. (S)
Coun. Paul White with Pendle Hill in the background. (S)

A leading Pendle politician has alleged that child sexual exploitation is going on in Pendle.

Paul White, a Conservative member of Pendle Council for Boulsworth ward and Lancashire county councillor for Pendle West, made the claim during a debate on the matter at County Hall on Thursday in the light of the Jay report on the exploitation of young people in Rotherham.

Members debated two notices of motion on the subject put to the full Lancashire County Council meeting, during which County Coun. White said: “Child sexual exploitation is going on in our area, I don’t think there is any doubt about that.

“At Pendle Council, senior figures have met with the police to see how we as a council can make sure we’re doing all we can to protect children, and that work is ongoing.

“We have an obligation, whether the evidence is anecdotal or not, to make the public aware, and to do everything in our power to catch the perpetrators, but also to make sure we have done everything possible to safeguard and protect children in the future.

“We have to also ensure that all agencies are being proactive in seeking these crimes out, and not waiting for them to be reported.

“I’m confident that this is something we can all work together on. It’s an issue far more important than politics. “When we’re knocking on doors in Barrowford and residents are telling us that it’s happening right outside their houses, that’s enough to know we have an issue.”

The meeting agreed to call on all agencies involved in safeguarding and child protection in Lancashire to examine the findings of the Jay report in order to assure themselves that the systematic failings of agencies in places such as Rotherham, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire cannot be repeated in Lancashire.