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Anorak | Rotherham: child prostitutes vanish and a purge on taxi drivers

Rotherham: child prostitutes vanish and a purge on taxi drivers

by | 16th, March 2016

Rotherham is now a town synonymous with sex crimes. The Times reports that “50 Rotherham taxi drivers have been stripped of their licences under new regulations introduced after the town’s sex-grooming scandal.”

Among them was the local authority’s former deputy leader, Jahangir Akhtar, who featured in a recent trial at which three of his relatives were convicted of multiple sexual offences against young girls.

Is it fair to single him out by name? He is innocent.

Rotherham council said that a decision was taken 12 months ago that Mr Akhtar’s licence should immediately be revoked. No reason was made public but a council spokesman said that such a decision could only be taken after the receipt of information that “gives rise to significant and serious concerns for risks to public safety if the licence remains in place”.

Why is a reason not made public? The phrasing implies that there was a reason to revoke the licence, so why not state it?

An independent inquiry by Alexis Jay “..noted frequent past warnings that taxi operators and their drivers played a prominent role in the abuse. A follow-up inspection of the council, ordered by the government and led by Louise Casey, found that Pakistani-heritage councillors had a disproportionate influence in the council, particularly on issues which affected the Pakistani community ‘such as the taxi trade’.”

The Times harks back to an incident it helped to broadcast:

Mr Akhtar, 55, resigned as council deputy leader in 2013 after The Times revealed his role in a deal under which a violent child abuser to whom he was related, Arshid Hussain, agreed to hand a missing 14-year-girl to police at a petrol station after he received an assurance that he would not be prosecuted.

Hussain, 40, was one of three Rotherham brothers jailed by Sheffield crown court last month for offences against 14 children, including the girl involved in the petrol station handover. Mr Akhtar was unavailable for comment last night.

The Sheffield Star has more:

Rotherham Council is pursuing its former deputy leader Jahangir Akhtar for £2,000 of court costs after he withdrew an appeal against his taxi licence being revoked.

The council has confirmed Mr Akhtar had said he would appeal against his licence being revoked in February 2015.

But ahead of the scheduled hearing at Rotherham Magistrates Court in September 2015, he withdrew his appeal – with the court awarding costs to the council in relation to their legal work in preparing a case for the hearing.

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said: “The council is pursuing collection of this through the civil debt enforcement process.”

The Sheffield Star  also has a few words on the new routine:

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Posted: 16th, March 2016 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink