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Row as Telford & Wrekin Council backs child sex abuse strategy

By Mat Growcott | Telford | Politics | Published:

A strategy to tackle child sexual exploitation in the Telford area has been supported by the local council.

Telford & Wrekin Council's Labour administration voted to support the Community Safety Partnership Strategy this week – although the move has led to a row between the opposing political groups on the authority.

The strategy, put together by the Safer Telford & Wrekin Partnership, outlines the group's intentions to work with communities to try to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and domestic abuse.

The council's Conservative group voted against supporting the strategy, arguing that it does not go far enough.

Labour councillor Richard Overton, deputy leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said the report had outlined ways to tackle abuse.

He said: "The Community Safety Group have identified three priority areas where we are keen to see the numbers of these crimes drop."

Councillor Overton also expressed his dismay at the decision from their political opponents.

He said: "It's astonishing the Conservative group couldn't support a document that supports community safety in our town."

But Andrew Eade, Telford & Wrekin Conservative group leader, said they wanted the strategy to include targets to measure progress.

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He said: "Essentially the plans didn't go far enough.

"We want to see a report that puts in place specific targets that we can measure improvements against.

"We wanted to monitor problems with child sexual exploitation because it still seems quite high in Telford, and we want to force improvements through on that.

"We don't believe the report is good enough. We want to see specific action taken around certain aspects of safety.

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"On that basis we're not going to support it."

Telford police superintendent Tom Harding, chair of the Community Safety Partnership, spoke in support of the strategy at the meeting.

He said: "In Telford and Wrekin we have identified three specific priorities: tackling child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse and reducing the impact of crime.

"The Safer Telford and Wrekin Partnership is committed to reducing crime and its impact on our communities, including our most vulnerable residents and victims of crime."

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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