Rochdale scandal detective backs MP who quit over rape comments

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A leading detective in the Rochdale child grooming scandal has backed a Labour MP who quit the shadow cabinet after facing a backlash for claiming Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping white girls.

Sarah Champion resigned as shadow women and equalities secretary and apologised for her "extremely poor choice of words" after warning of a "problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls" in a column for The Sun.

But Maggie Oliver, who persuaded young girls who were being sexually abused in Rochdale to speak to police, leading to nine gang members being jailed in 2012, said Ms Champion's remarks were not racist.

Eight of the Rochdale gang were British Pakistani and the issue has been thrust to the top of the agenda again following the convictions of 17 men and one woman over the sexual abuse of under-age girls in Newcastle.

The majority of the offenders in the Newcastle case were from a Muslim background across Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities.

But Ms Oliver said Ms Champion was right to focus on British Pakistanis, while stressing that not all men from that background are abusive.

The former detective told the Sunday Express: "Generations of children have been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.

"Unfortunately, we are shying away from the facts of this problem. Sarah Champion's remarks are not racist. People have tiptoed around this for the past 15 years.

"Not all Pakistani men are abusive but this kind of sexual crime and on-street grooming is predominantly carried out by Pakistani men on mainly vulnerable white children.

"This is a warning shot to anyone else who dares speak the truth, that they may lose their jobs. It merely serves to shut down all debate.

"To this day I'm not aware of a single police officer speaking out about these grooming gangs. I had to resign in order to do it and that was not an easy decision to make.

"Remember that Home Secretary Amber Rudd has only just come out and said we mustn't hide behind political correctness. Is this not exactly what's happening here?"

Ms Champion received backing from Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and the Equality and Human Rights Commission following her resignation.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Thursday it was "wrong to designate an entire community as the problem".

"I don't think you can label a whole community," he said.

"I think what you have to do is label those that perpetrate disgusting and disgraceful crimes against people, and they can be from any community, they can be white, they can be black, they can be any community, but they have to be dealt with as the crime of what it is."