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20.11.14

Council uses civil injunction to protect children from sexual exploitation

Seven men have been ordered by the High Court to stay away from young girls after Birmingham City Council became the first local authority to use a civil injunction to protect vulnerable children from sexual exploitation.

In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, Mr Justice Keehan granted long-term orders that prevent the men from approaching girls under the age of 18.

After initially ruling that the men could not be identified the judge on Thursday heard further evidence and ruled that their names could be revealed.

The men are:

  • Mohammed Anjam, 31, from Albert Road, Aston;
  • Omar Ahmed, 27, from Henry Road, Yardley;
  • Sajid Hussain, 40, from Warwick Road, Tyseley;
  • Naseem Khan, 29, from Colonial Road, Bordesley Green;
  • Mohammed Javed, 35, from Yarnfield Road, Tyseley;
  • Shah Alam, 37, from Floyer Road, Small Heath.

A seventh man is also subject to an order but he cannot be named due to legal reasons.

Police had initially raised concerns about the men’s safety if they were identified.

After the hearing, Detective Chief Superintendent Danny Long, head of West Midlands Police's public protection unit, said photographs of the men would not be made public.

“We are duty bound to act proportionately to the threat the men currently pose to the girl and possibly others,” he said. “We also have a duty to consider the impact of releasing the men's images on innocent family members.”

The injunctions came about after Birmingham social workers and West Midlands Police raised concerns about a vulnerable 17-year-old girl.

Some of the men had been caught at hotels with the girl and others in cars with her in the early hours of the morning.

Hussain was the driver of a red Mazda stopped at 3am on 7 October after attempting to take the teenager in his car. Ahmed and Anjam were the driver and passenger of a silver Nissan Micra in which she was a passenger at 3.15am on 9 October. Ahmed also owned a phone that was seized by police where her number was the last one called.

The injunctions stop the men from approaching the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, as well as any other girl under the age of 18.

Peter Hay, director of people at Birmingham City Council, said that the girl in question has been known to Birmingham social services for “a number of years”, and had been reported missing to police 102 times since July 2010.

He said: “We strongly believe that she is being consistently sexually exploited and has been since her early teenage years.  Every time she goes missing a police investigation is launched. She has been found in hotel rooms with men in states of undress and in a state of intoxication, despite lack of funds.

“Despite many attempts to work with her to understand the risks she was placing herself in, she continued to have contact with these men.”

He added that she is now safe and in secure accommodation for her own protection.

Lawyers decided to take out the civil injunctions as they thought there was not enough evidence to secure criminal convictions “at the current time”, but the standard of proof in civil court is lower than that in criminal.

The children’s charity the NSPCC backed the move.

“We absolutely support this move as its ultimate aim is to protect young girls who are potential sexual abuse victims,” said Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC’s programmes tackling sexual abuse. “This is a serious child protection issue as several recent grooming cases have graphically shown and the authorities must use every weapon in their armoury to stamp it out.”

Hay added:  “We have to recognise that previous ways of dealing with this have not always worked. Too often the victim has not seen herself as a victim so it has been difficult to use the conventional criminal prosecution route.

“Because perpetrators befriend their victims and make them feel special it is therefore harder to gather concrete evidence to use against them.

“For far too long, men committing abuse have seen this as something they control; this is about taking control away from them and giving control to the victims. It gives them a safe space in which to come to terms with their exploitation.

“Our approach has to evolve and we have to find innovative ways of working; we believe we are the first local authority to use this approach. However, we couldn’t do this without the police. We have used intelligence gathered by both agencies as well as evidence of perpetrators’ criminal activities.

He added that the legislation they used to get the orders was historically used to protect children before the introduction of the 1989 Children Act.

“This is about making children safer; we are already starting work on our next set of proceedings and I would fully expect to see other local authorities following our lead,” he added.

(Image: c. Rudolf Schuba)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opininon@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

Al   24/11/2014 at 11:09

Quite simply, people like these are prime arguments for capital punishment in certain conditions. It's perfectly clear that crimes, and sickening crimes at that, are being committed against a vulnerable person. If you could get this case into court, I hope I can say with assurance that as long as they met a jury of human beings these creatures (I can't in good conscience call them men, these aren't real men at all), wouldn't stand a chance. However the structure of the legal system means there's no real chance of getting them there, so I am glad that some people have taken a stand and some action to protect people in need. After all, evil thrives when good people do nothing.

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