Telford CSE inquiry boss calls for witnesses to come forward

Telford Image copyright Gavin Dickson
Image caption The independent inquiry was commissioned by Telford & Wrekin Council in April 2018

An inquiry into child sexual exploitation in a Shropshire town is calling for people to come forward with their stories and information.

The inquiry was set up after the Sunday Mirror claimed up to 1,000 girls had been abused by gangs in Telford since the 1980s.

Without the story of victims, the inquiry risks having "half the story", its chairman said.

The inquiry's purpose is to determine the "true extent" of CSE in the town.

In a video, on the inquiry website, chairman Tom Crowther QC said: "We need to know what has been done and whether the right decisions have been made.

"We can't do that without hearing from everyone who has information."

Image copyright Eversheds Sutherland
Image caption The purpose of the inquiry is to determine the "true extent" of CSE in Telford, chairman Tom Crowther QC said.

The inquiry wants to hear from victims and their family members as well as people who worked in child protection, healthcare, education or the investigation of criminal offences, he said.

But also, he said, it also wants the stories of anyone who may have seen something "they thought was wrong".

"Unless we hear from you, we risk having only half the story," Mr Crowther added.

On Twitter, Holly Archer, who led calls for the inquiry, urged people to come forward.

"The inquiry can only help change the future if you speak up," she said.

The inquiry was commissioned by Telford & Wrekin Council in April 2018.

It will examine the role of the local taxi industry and whether prior reports into CSE by the council came to "adequate conclusions", among other lines of inquiry.

A progress report, published earlier this month, said it has already received 3,950 "potentially relevant" documents.

Its findings are expected to be published in 2021.

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