Police and politicians attend safety meeting after far-right activists visit Rotherham
Police and politicians have attended a meeting to discuss safety in Rotherham after far-right activists visited the town urging people to ‘out’ groomers.
The activists visited mosques in the town and handed out leaflets about grooming gangs.
Rotherham found itself at the centre of a child sexual exploitation scandal in 2014 when a report, published by Professor Alexis Jay, suggested that 1,400 children were abused by men of predominantly Pakistani heritage over a 16-year period while those in authority failed to act.
The National Crime Agency was brought in to investigate the historic cases and over 300 victims have been engaged with so far.
Extra police patrols have been ordered in Rotherham as a result of yesterday’s visit.
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said: “Rotherham was last night targeted by far-right activists.
“The intent was all too clear - to intimidate residents and divide our communities. I want to send a message today - the far right is not welcome in our town.
“When Rotherham has been targeted by the far-right before, I have always been proud to see our communities come together to send that message loud and clear.
“Nevertheless, I know the presence of such hateful groups will be worrying, particularly for BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities.
“I therefore wanted to provide reassurance that the police are aware of, and actively monitoring, this activity and were quickly on the streets reassuring people last night.
“I have spoken with senior police officers in Rotherham and they will be working closely with Rotherham Council and with local mosques.
“Extra patrols will also be mounted to ensure all Rotherham’s residents can go about their lives in security and free from harassment.
“We will not be divided by those that seek to spread division. I stand shoulder to shoulder with all Rotherham’s diverse communities in the face of hatred and bigotry.”
South Yorkshire Police said: “We are working with Rotherham Council and the local community following reports a group was seen handing out leaflets at two mosques in the town yesterday.“We have implemented additional police patrols as we work with the community and provide reassurance.”