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Telford demonstration held against grooming gangs

By Rory Smith | Telford | News | Published: | Last Updated:

About 20 people gathered in Telford's Southwater Square in a demonstration against grooming gangs.

The protesters in Telford

Protesters held banners reading 'Cams in Cabs' and 'Allow CCTV in Taxis' on Saturday, with organisers saying they were raising awareness of groomers who work for taxi firms.

The gathering was also in protest at what they claim is a lack of action from Telford & Wrekin Council.

About three officers from West Mercia Police were in attendance.

Former Labour MP Peter Bradley, who represented The Wrekin constituency between 1997 and 2005, said he was "accosted by thugs" during the demonstration and criticised West Mercia Police.

He tweeted: "Just been accosted by thugs in Telford Town Centre who live streamed while publicly yelling paedo at me on the basis that I'm an ex Lab MP.

"Really shocked by West Merica Police officers' response: they're entitled to express an opinion, if anything happens, report a crime."

It comes after Telford & Wrekin Council announced it would be working with taxi firm Go Carz to allow drivers to have CCTV installed in their cabs.

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The council is also lobbying the Government to change how driver licensing works so that only those licensed by the local authority can work in that area.

Drivers licensed by Telford & Wrekin Council must undergo child sexual exploitation and disability awareness training.

Vehicles are not licensed if they have darkened windows that would obscure outsiders’ view of passengers inside.

But there is currently nothing stopping people who fail to reach those standards getting licensed in a less strict area and operating in Telford anyway.

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Meanwhile the independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation set up by Telford & Wrekin Council is continuing, with one of its areas of examination being the impact the local taxi industry and taxi licensing has had on child sex abuse.

The inquiry was commissioned in April last year following allegations up to 1,000 children may have been exploited by grooming gangs in the area.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP was appointed as the Commissioning Body in January 2019 and Tom Crowther QC was appointed sa the independent chair in June.

The inquiry is expected to take until at least 2021.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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