MORE arrests have been made across Dewsbury and Batley in relation to historical allegations of child sexual abuse.
Low-key raids on homes across the district began early this week, and a police task force met on Tuesday morning in the new fire station building in Batley Carr.
Detectives had used the fire station as a base – as opposed to Dewsbury Police Station – before a series of raids over Christmas which led to 55 mostly Batley and Dewsbury men being arrested, questioned and bailed.
Although police have not made any announcements in regard to the arrests they are believed to be part of the national Operation Stovewood.
In the 55 arrests made over the Christmas period, the investigation stemmed from the testimony of seven women who said they were sexually abused as children between 2002 and 2009. As a result of the publicity from those arrests, The Press understands that more victims came forward and arrests were made.
When The Press asked West Yorkshire Police in May if any charges had been made or were expected after the Christmas raids and arrests, the reply was that decisions on whether to charge could take the rest of the year.
Meanwhile in May, men from Dewsbury were among 40 people arrested over similar offences in Rotherham.
The latest investigation comes ironically in the same week as a report into Kirklees Council’s handling of historical sex abuse of young girls in its care found serious fault.
Despite Dr Mark Peel (see p4) saying Kirklees missed at least two opportunities to intervene when presented with clear evidence of abuse, his ‘independent’ report was slammed by critics, who described it as ‘a whitewash’.
Council leader Shabir Pandor (Batley West) refused to commit to a judge-led independent inquiry, instead commissioning Dr Peel – the head of Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership – to look into the council’s actions, and giving him just a limited timescale to report back.
Dr Peel was only given access to Kirklees social work case files, and had no recourse to information or evidence held by the police, schools, council staff or the victims.
In October 2018, 20 men were sentenced to over 221 years in relation to historic sex offences in the Huddersfield area – with three still awaiting sentencing – including Mohammed Rizwan Aslam, 31 of Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, who got 15 years for two counts of rape.
A further 31 defendants, mainly from Huddersfield, have been charged and are in the process of their trials being held. Strict reporting restrictions have been applied in the cases.