Council leader Pandor: We have not solved the issue

Council leader Pandor: We have not solved the issue

The leader of Kirklees Council, Coun Shabir Pandor, has said communities across the borough “must remain vigilant” in the wake of the sex grooming scandal.

However he said a separate report by the National Working Group CSE Response Unit showed how the authority had moved forward.

Coun Pandor said it was “only right” that Kirklees Council should apologise to the young girls who fell foul of the grooming gang. A total of 21 men have been jailed for child sex offences including rape.

Chief executive Jacqui Gedman said that “a small number” of cases could, and should, have been handled differently at the time.

She apologised on behalf of the council “to the girls that we let down”.

Speaking on behalf of the Labour group Coun Pandor said: “Kirklees Council does not shy away from dealing with difficult issues and those highlighted within the Dr Peel report shows it is only right that we apologise as an organisation for the failings identified in relation to the two victims.

“The findings of the report show that, at the time, our systems, whilst robust in the majority of cases, still had failings.

“However the report from the NWG shows how far we have come in addressing these concerns and how we are sharing intelligence and information across partnerships to help protect the most vulnerable in our society.”

He added: “This does not mean we think we have solved the issue, far from it.

“There will always be those who prey on the vulnerable and we, and our partners, must learn to adapt and evolve in making our systems as robust as possible to identify and help those most at risk.

“I want to personally thank the victims for their bravery in being part of these reports, in showing the courage needed to talk about and identify those responsible.

“As Dr Peel says they are the heroes of this situation.

“Now we must look at the recommendations in the reports and ensure they are acted upon.

“It is also vital that we and our communities remain vigilant in bringing to our, or our partners’, attention any signs of similar issues so they can be dealt with swiftly.”

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