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Council to submit one million pages of evidence to Telford CSE inquiry

By Rory Smith | Telford | Crime | Published:

The amount of evidence relating to the inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford is far greater than its chairman expected.

Inquiry chairman, Tom Crowther QC

Telford & Wrekin Council is set to provide more than one million pages alone.

The chairman of the inquiry, Tom Crowther QC, has "begun to approach organisations and make requests to speak to individual witnesses" according to an update published online today.

However "the volume of potentially relevant material is greater than the chairman had originally expected".

Telford & Wrekin Council has so far submitted 816,000 pages in total, with a "large volume of disclosure" set to be put forward by the authority in the coming weeks.

The update states the inquiry has also made contact with a number of official bodies, including two police forces and multiple health organisations.

It says: "In its last progress report, the inquiry explained that it was also working closely with West Mercia Police to identify and gather relevant material. That work continues and documentation has started to be disclosed in larger volumes.

"The inquiry has started to receive documentation from relevant NHS provider organisations, Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group and West Midlands Police, and remains in contact with these stakeholders.

"The chairman has also now had useful discussions with NHS England, which will be providing relevant documentation over the coming months.

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"It remains clear to the chairman that significantly more material will be disclosed, all of which will help inform his investigations."

Commissioned by Telford & Wrekin Council in 2018 and started in July 2019, the inquiry is being run by law firm Eversheds Sutherland and was initially expected to take between 18 and 20 months.

The purpose of the inquiry is to fully investigate child sexual exploitation in Telford, establish where public services have failed and who is accountable for such failures and to make recommendations for the future.

The inquiry has received about 143,000 documents of evidence so far and "continues to meet with, and take the evidence of, witnesses who have information".

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However, it states individuals should not assume they will be contacted and are instead being encouraged to come forward.

The report adds: "The chairman however continues to encourage anyone that has information to share to come forward.

"Individuals should not assume that the chairman will proactively contact them; in some cases, that would not be appropriate, particularly where this involves victims/survivors, or family/friends of victims/survivors.

"For this reason, if you have relevant evidence to give, please do get in contact with the inquiry. The chairman will be making a further public call for evidence when the time is appropriate to do so."

It comes after the inquiry reported a "lower than expected" number of witnesses had come forward to give evidence in its last progress update published on February 26.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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