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New police powers to tackle child exploitation follow case in Keighley
9:20am Thursday 12th December 2013 in Keighley
New police powers to tackle child sexual exploitation are being introduced in the wake of a case in Keighley.
The town’s MP, Kris Hopkins, had proposed the measures, aimed at cracking down on paedophile gangs using hotels and B&Bs to abuse children.
Earlier this year, two men who abused young girls after picking them up on Keighley streets and taking them to hotels were jailed for a total of 36 years.
Mr Hopkins said he welcomed news that the House of Lords had approved the new measures, which will compel owners of establishments where grooming is believed to be taking place to provide the police with information about guests.
After putting forward the proposals, he met with Home Secretary Theresa May and her officials to discuss them.
Speaking during a Commons debate on the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill in the summer, Mr Hopkins told fellow MPs there had been several high-profile cases of hotels and bed-and-breakfasts being used by paedophile gangs to commit child rape.
House of Lords justice spokesman Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has now confirmed the government believes a law change is necessary and he said the new powers would make it more difficult for child sex offenders to use the anonymity of hotels and similar venues to commit offences.
Mr Hopkins said this week: “It is certainly the case that the heinous crime of child grooming goes on in all parts of the country, but it is well known that we have a particular problem in Keighley.
“However, rather than simply express my anger, I wanted to do something about it.
“I want to pay fulsome tribute to Chief Superintendent Angela Williams and Detective Chief Inspector Darren Minton, for being an inspiration behind these changes.
“I must also thank Theresa May for using her good office as Home Secretary to ensure the police will now be given these new powers which, I believe, will give paedophiles even fewer places to hide and carry out their unspeakable acts.
“The battle to take these evil men off our streets has been difficult and very harrowing. But I know the police are working incredibly hard to win this fight and, as a community, we must continue to get behind them as one.”
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