A VIGIL will be held in East Oxford today by residents calling for an independent inquiry into Operation Bullfinch.

People are set to gather outside the East Oxford Health Centre, on the corner of Manzil Way and Cowley Road, between 6pm and 7pm.

Organiser Jonathan Meale, 66, said it was in response to the Serious Case Review published after Oxford girls were subjected to years of sexual abuse by a grooming gang. The seven men were jailed in 2013 for a total of 95 years for raping, grooming and prostituting the girls between 2005 and 2011.

But the Serious Case Review found organisations including Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council had missed opportunities to stop the abuse earlier.

In statements after its release earlier this month, the county council and police said no staff involved had been formally disciplined.

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Mr Meale, from East Oxford, accused the authorities of a “whitewash” and said there was growing demand for an independent inquiry into what went wrong.

His call joins others from the mothers of two of the Bullfinch victims, Labour MP Andrew Smith, and Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld.

The grandfather-of-three said: “We want a public and independent inquiry, and not just a whitewash, to help make sure this kind of thing never happens again.

“People in senior positions in society need to take responsibility when things go wrong on their watch. It is time for people involved in these cases to hold up their hands and say they are sorry.

“If that doesn’t happen with these kind of scandals then they just go on and on.”

The vigil today is partly in support of comments made by Oxford East MP Mr Smith in the House of Commons earlier this month, Mr Meale added.

In a question to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Mr Smith asked: “Isn’t it the case that the Serious Case Review is based largely on the evidence of the internal management reviews undertaken by the agencies concerned?

“Should these not be subjected to wider independent scrutiny?”