'We're fortunate that this did not lead to murder

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld

POLICE have been criticised by the victims of the child sex gang, their parents and a top Thames Valley police boss.

Police and crime commissioner Anthony Stansfeld said the victims had “clearly been failed” by the force, social services and others charged with caring for them.

Aged 15, Girl 1 reported her rapist Akhtar Dogar in 2006, but later dropped the complaint.

The victim told the trial she felt “let down” after “nothing happened”.

She also said she was threatened with arrest for wasting police time after going missing many times.

She added: “Any self-respecting police officer would have seen something was wrong. If you pick up a child who is covered in cigarette burns and bruises, something is fundamentally wrong.

“Adults should be doing their jobs, it’s not down to a child.”

Her father told the trial: “Under normal police protection she continued to be abused and assaulted, which is something that defies belief.”

He also said police refused to do DNA tests on his daughter’s stained clothing.

He said: “We believed something sinister was going on. We were shocked and horrified they would not take the clothing.”

Girls 2, 3 and 4 all reported abuse to the police.

Mr Stansfeld last night said: “This case opens up a number of disturbing questions as to how we look after children in care, and how we conduct our criminal justice system. Both have clearly failed the children.

“At the moment it almost seems to actively look the other way.

“This has to stop.

“The state can never be an ideal replacement for good parenting, but when it has to step in it must do so kindly, and with firmness. The two are not incompatible.”

He added: “[This case] involved the molestation, rape and torture of very underage girls, on a large scale. We are fortunate it did not include murder.

“It would appear to have been a serious organised crime business that has extended well beyond Oxford,” he added, and called for a public inquiry to look at how children are safeguarded nationally.

He said: “No organisation comes out of this well. However, the victims were brave enough to give evidence which was crucial in bringing this to court and securing a conviction.”

He said schools needed to answer questions over why the girls were absent so often, and the NHS should have spotted issues when the girls went to sexual health clinics.

He said social services were “obviously” not looking after the children properly.

He said: “The system was looking the other way while these young girls were being exploited and abused.”

And he said the police should have picked up the abuse earlier.

He added: “This case is by no means over. There are other victims. There are also other abusers within our community who I hope can be brought to justice.

“The perpetrators who are still at liberty should not sleep easy; we will not be giving up on the follow-up of this case, which will extend well beyond Oxford.”

  • Comments are not allowed on this story to protect the identity of the victims

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