OPERATION Bullfinch and other sex crimes involving Asian gangs targeting white girls should be treated as racist, politicians and campaigners have said.

Anthony Stansfeld, the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, told the Oxford Mail a national review was required to get a 'better understanding' of the grooming culture and sex abuse offending.

He echoed points raised by former Crown Prosecution Service chief Lord Macdonald which said cases needed to be recognised in the courts as 'profoundly racist crimes'.

Mr Stansfeld also said prior to cases such as the Bullfinch scandal which was unearthed in 2012, political correctness 'had got in the way' of investigations.

He added: "We should have a high inquiry into why this is happening. It's clearly a racist crime.

"It's not just one or two isolated cases, it's quite clearly happening."

His comments came after Home Secretary Amber Rudd said 'political and cultural sensitivities' must not get in the way of uncovering child sex abuse amid calls to review offences that are racially aggravated.

If a crime is considered racially motivated then judges must take this into account during sentencing, potentially leading to longer jail time.

Ms Rudd said the exploitation of young girls was a 'sickening crime' as she spoke following the convictions of 17 men and one woman in the latest child sex abuse case in Newcastle upon Tyne. 

As in the Oxford grooming scandals Bullfinch and Sabaton, victims were conned into thinking they were in a relationship with their abuser, who would then pass them round their network to be used for sex, sometimes with the encouragement of the class B drug M-Kat, or cannabis.

Mr Stansfeld said he had asked Theresa May when she was Home Secretary to force a review to understand why gangs preyed on the young people.

He added: "We need a bit more honesty about it. I did raise the issues with the home office in 2015.

"An investigation is required into the thinking behind this."

Those prosecuted in the North East city were from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born.

Northumbria Police launched a major investigation into the abuse of women in Newcastle after receiving information from social workers and initially spoke to 108 potential victims.

Over the course of four trials, 20 young women gave evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014.

The case draws similarities with others in Oxford.

In May 2013 seven men in the Bullfinch gang were jailed for at least 95 years for the rape and abuse of six girls in the city.

Mike Penning, the former policing an justice minister, has written to Attorney General Jeremy Wright questioning whether sex cases like this should be treated as 'a race-hate crime'.

Former race tsar Trevor Phillips, ex chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said sex gangs had got away with abusing children for years because of their race.

Marilyn Hawes, found of Enough Abuse UK, said people in Oxford and nationally needed to 'wake up and smell the coffee' on child abuse gangs to protect and prevent further abuse to children.

She added: "We have got to open this up. Everybody should be more aware. It's right in your face. It's right on your doorstep.

"Too many people are still walking around with their heads in the sand. They just do not want to accept reality.

"They have to accept it. This crime is in every town in the country and until we change something it's only going to continue."

Ms Hawes accused some organisations of using safeguarding training that was 'politically correct' which made everyone 'feel comfortable'.

She added being 'spineless' would not protect and prevent children from abuse.

She said: "Our training makes your bum tweak. Their training is not teaching children to think or young men to think about the consequences."