Terrible things happened to a number of children and young people in Telford and Wrekin, 10, 20, 30 years ago. Those same things have also been happening in towns and cities across the country – no different to what happened in Telford.
However Telford is different. Something different did happen here. Teams in the council, police and other agencies recognised that child sexual exploitation was happening and came together to set up a task force, identify the issue, tackle it and bring the perpetrators to justice. This was Operation Chalice which began its work in 2008 and in 2012 resulted in seven men being jailed for a total of 49 years. Over the last 10 years, the partners have built ever closer links. This work together with legal action and prosecutions continues today.
- Fact 1 - Telford was the first place in the UK to launch prosecutions against an organised grooming gang.
- Fact 2 - Telford was the second place in the country to secure convictions for organised child sexual exploitation.
- Fact 3 - Telford continues to have a dedicated team of police, council and other partners working to identify and support victims of child sexual exploitation and increased resources for the team in 2016/17.
- Fact 4 - In 2013 we published an independent review of our approach to child sexual exploitation so we could learn lessons and further improve. Our Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee also carried out their own multi-agency review in 2016.
- Fact 5 - In 2016, OFSTED looked at our children’s services in great detail for four weeks and concluded our work on child sexual exploitation was ‘strong’, saying: "The local authority has been a champion for tackling this issue".
- Fact 6 - Since 2008, Telford & Wrekin Council with West Mercia Police has been at the forefront of identifying and tackling the evil crime that is child sexual exploitation. We care, we listen, we act and always will.
Everyone in the borough and right across the country has a role to play in tackling child sexual exploitation. This council was one of the first to act in relation to organised child sexual exploitation many years ago and we will continue to act on every report we receive.