A powerful racial myth has been exposed. A Home Office report has concluded that there is no credible evidence that any one ethnic group is over-represented in cases of child sexual exploitation.
For many in Britain today the term “grooming gang” immediately suggests Pakistani-heritage Muslim men abusing white girls. What started as a far-right trope had migrated into the mainstream, meeting little resistance along the way. The racial stereotype gained credence and the “grooming gangs” narrative fed into the agenda of the far right, but it was not only there that the issue was racialised
But Home Office researchers now tell us that “research has found that group-based offenders are most commonly White”. The two-year study by the Home Office makes very clear that there are no grounds for asserting that Muslim or Pakistani-heritage men are disproportionately engaged in such crimes. The horrific and widely reported crimes committed in places such as Rochdale, Oxford and Telford were real: but racist stereotyping and demonisation deflected from that. The report reveals that there was discord in its advisory group of experts, campaigners and others. Some members apparently wanted an even greater focus on Pakistani men, hinting at an appetite for producing policy-led evidence rather than evidence-led policy.