A KEIGHLEY mum has attacked Bradford Council's leader for failing to back her call for an urgent public inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Keighley.

Angela Sinfield, from Ingrow, who has been collecting names for a petition demanding an investigation into the sickening levels of abuse in the town, claimed Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe is "out of touch".

She added: "It’s not what we wanted to hear and I don’t think she's in touch with the reality of the situation.

“I feel none of the councillors truly understand the issue. They say things are now being done differently, but there is still no answer as to why the failings occurred."

But Cllr Hinchcliffe responded: “I wouldn’t rule out a public inquiry if one were needed, but now isn't the right time for one.

"In the next six weeks, the independent serious case review report will be published on the high profile Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) case in Keighley where 13 men were convicted.

"It's important this report and its findings are scrutinised publicly and that people have the opportunity as a result of that report to see what actions are being taken and also what else needs to be done to keep our children safe."

Mrs Sinfield's petition has accumulated more than 2,000 signatures.

She wants an inquiry covering the period from 1995 to 2016 – similar to that conducted by Professor Alexis Jay in Rotherham.

The South Yorkshire report detailed an appalling catalogue of sexual crimes against children in that town.

Mrs Sinfield said her petition will still be submitted to a full Bradford Council meeting this autumn, but she is worried Labour councillors will now vote against it.

She added: "Cllr Hinchcliffe has said she doesn't think there is a need for a Jay-style inquiry, but if at any stage she thinks there is a need, she will hold one.

"Until everybody is prepared to put their cards on the table and do so in an honest way, then we're never going to get to the root of the problem of children being trafficked in our district.

"The council will not release statistics. We asked if the amount of children at risk is increasing or decreasing. You need these figures to know if children are still being sexually exploited."

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “No one can hear the stories of victims and their families without being horrified by the magnitude of the crimes against them.

"I’ve met with Mrs Sinfield and I asked for her to meet the Bradford district police commander and the multi-agency CSE hub team, so she can talk directly to the professionals who are now dealing with current and historic CSE cases.

"I've not instructed any councillor within the Labour Group on how they should react to Mrs Sinfield’s petition.

“Reports on CSE, including facts and figures, have been discussed at the council’s executive and district area committees, and scrutinised at children’s services overview and scrutiny committee, all of which are public meetings.

“If anyone has concerns about the safety of a child or a young person in Bradford district, they should contact West Yorkshire Police, Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or Children’s Services Initial Contact Point on 01274 437500.”

Cllr Dale Smith added: "As chairman of children's services overview and scrutiny committee, I take these issues with the utmost seriousness.

"We already have an item on child sexual exploitation on our work plan scheduled for September 6, when the matter will be discussed and suitable recommendations made."