Investment will ensure those terrible crimes were a one-off

Oxford Mail: - -

THE investment of £8m by Oxfordshire County Council to tackle the issue of child sexual exploitation is a firm indication that the local authority is determined to stamp out such appalling crimes.

Recently the council has had to make millions of pounds worth of cuts to services, so it will not have been easy to argue that such a large sum of money should be set aside.

But the Bullfinch trial last year, in which seven men were convicted of crimes including sex trafficking and conspiracy to rape, brought shame on the city of Oxford.

Following the trial, key agencies were criticised for making mistakes and, one year on, a serious case review is to determine where the authorities went wrong.

It is difficult to judge whether £8m is enough of an investment to guarantee that crimes like those investigated by Bullfinch will not happen again, and the council should not become complacent simply because it has invested a large sum.

But it is clear that the council has made a significant investment in trying to make sure that a sex trafficking scandal never recurs in Oxford.

This investment should bring significant results, with £1.4m going towards 21 new social workers, and the establishment of the £1m joint task force to tackle child sexual exploitation.

Known as the Kingfisher team, these specialist staff are in a good position to target suspects seeking to commit such vile crimes.

The offences committed by those apprehended by Operation Bullfinch shocked the nation and put Oxford on the map for all the wrong reasons.

If the authorities continue to monitor the situation carefully, young women in our community will have every reason to feel safe.

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