EAST Lancashire child protection and police chiefs are studying the latest report into the Rochdale sex grooming scandal while Blackburn with Darwen’s specialist Engage team said it was working with the Greater Manchester borough to improve effectiveness.
The investigation revealed ‘deficiencies’ which allowed the crisis of child sexual exploitation to grow. The Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board’s report followed nine men being jailed in May for grooming girls as young as 13 for sex with drink, drugs, taxi rides and takeaways.
Key recommendations including staff training, close working between police and child protection workers, and ensuring that alerts lead to action and prosecution, are common practice in East Lancashire. Other proposals about parental support, confidence building among vulnerable young people, and public and parental involvement in identifying suspicious activity are implemented locally.
While the report praised Rochdale’s creation of the Sunrise team, based on the Engage model, it criticises delays in getting it into operation.
A spokesman said Engage, started in 2004 and now 12-strong, played a crucial role in the start of Sunrise and was still working with it to improve performance.
Lancashire Police’s public protection chief, Ian Critchley, said: “We are closely studying this report to see if there is anything we can learn. We work with the Engage team across Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley and Hyndburn and with the similar Freedom team in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale to tackle the issues highlighted by the Rochdale case.”