A LEADING race tsar has said sex gangs, like the men jailed under Operation Bullfinch, got away with abusing children for years because of their race.

Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the predecessor to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, made comments on race issues in the UK.

Published in the Daily Mail, he said: “Latterly, the unfolding tragedy of the street grooming of children by largely Pakistani Muslim gangs in several British cities has exposed a culture in which public authorities would do almost anything to avoid being accused of stigmatising an ethnic group – including turning a blind eye to abuse.”

Six white girls in Oxford were sexually abused for years by a gang of seven men – of Pakistani or north African origin – who were jailed for a minimum of 95 years.

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A Serious Case Review revealed police and social services knew aspects of the abuse as early as 2005, but little was done until 2011.

But it said ethnicity was not a factor in authorities shying away from investigating.

Alan Bedford, who wrote the report for the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board, said: “Only one reference was made that suggested any reticence related to ethnicity.”