PM Rishi Sunak just addressed the issue of grooming gangs in UK (gangs that kidnap / "adopt" underage females, oftentimes poor, oftentimes immigrants, oftentimes disabled, and then "groom" them for prostitution). Why does a special task force need to be created to tackle this issue? Shouldn't it be a law enforcement issue?

These are like any other miscreants in the society which should be handled by a law enforcement team.

Or is there more to these gangs that needs special attention?

Here in America, Trump was critical of MS-13 gangs.

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    this might give some extra context re both the crime, the prevalence of the crime and its particular political context - lets just say that it is,, and has been, a subject of some concern to right-leaning voters theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/19/… So likely a mix of reasonable policy - stopping a very nasty crime - along with some political red meat (note the "political correctness" mention in the vid at 0:50). IIRC the original big scandal did involve the police perhaps being too keen to avoid appearing racist Oct 28, 2022 at 17:10
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    Law enforcement is probably a political issue. This question may originate from a simple misunderstanding. Or is it rather asking why the topic is important enough to warrant such attention? Oct 29, 2022 at 6:47
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica regarding the Guardian article, it's important to be aware it has it's own agenda which biases somewhat it's reporting of the underlying study, which might be better to link to. assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/… Oct 29, 2022 at 11:59
  • I approved the edit for the grammar but I don't think we really need to make a habit of linking to G7 HOGs. Oct 29, 2022 at 23:02
  • Could you be looking at that the other way round? It is indeed a law enforcement issue and the reason it needs a special task force is simply that it's such a serious and complicated law enforcement issue Oct 30, 2022 at 0:16

1 Answer 1


Grooming, in this context, means "The act of gaining the trust of a minor [or other vulnerable person] with the intention of luring them into an abusive sexual relationship."

Yes, it is a law enforcement issue.

The Prime Minister, as Head of the Executive, is responsible (in discussion with Cabinet) for setting policy on law enforcement. He can direct the NCA (a law enforcement agency) to create a task force to focus on a particular category of crime that is of concern. There are task forces on border security, gun crime, modern slavery and many more. As you say, this should be handled by a law enforcement team. That is exactly what Sunak is proposing. (In fact, such a team already exists so the "I'm creating" is a bit of political hyperbole)

The particular context are crimes committed by groups such as this gang from Bradford. Note that "gang" here is a criminal conspiracy, and not like the "Color gangs" or "MS-13" in the USA. There have been many of these "grooming gangs" particularly in the major cities of the North of England.

Be sure that you understand "grooming gang". It isn't the name of one particular gang, it is a description of various criminal conspiracies in the UK.

Now Sunak talks a lot about "political correctness". This is because many of these gangs, such as the Rotherham gang, were associations of South Asian men. In the Rotherham case, it seemed that police officers had failed to investigate properly, did not recognise evidence of abuse. At least in part this seems to have been a result of the fear of being accused of racism. This historic failure adds to the political nature of the enforcement of these crimes.

For background into the Rotherham gang, and the police investigation, you can read the Jay Report.

  • The police still got accused of racism, as they ignored reports about the Rotherham gang that were made by other immigrants from the same community. Oct 29, 2022 at 0:03
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    This answer is a good start but it should be emphasized that these South Asian and predominantly (if not exclusively) Islamic men preyed on THOUSANDS of young, preteen-teenage, non-muslim women for DECADES, while officers turned a blind eye because of political correctness. We're not just talking about sexual predation, we are talking about physical and mental abuse, forced drug use, torture, and pimping. And I don't have a source handy but I do believe former officers are on record admitting their fear of being called racist. This "gang" is long overdue for special attention. Oct 29, 2022 at 0:57
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    From what I've read, it's potentially much worse than "the act of gaining the trust of a minor". It oftentimes allegedly involves kidnapping and forced drug addition. Oct 29, 2022 at 4:50
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    It wasn't just "political correctness" or fear of accusations of racism. Police saw the girls as consenting near-adults rather than child victims, in large part because of their background: mostly children in care with minor criminal records. This meant that the police regarded them as part of the criminal class and treated them accordingly. It also meant that the unsupported word of such a child against an adult would not be anywhere near enough for a prosecution. Police said "fear of accusations of racism" after the fact, but that was just an excuse. Oct 29, 2022 at 10:07
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    The details of the cases (dreadful though they are) are not actually relevant to the answer, so I won't be including them. I won't be redoing the Jay Report here. I have used a dictionary definition of "grooming", only to clarify the general sense, rather than describe particular crimes, nor indicate that no other crimes were committed. I refer to "political correctness" because that is the language that Sunak uses. Again, I have no desire to rewrite the Jay Report.
    – James K
    Oct 29, 2022 at 10:39

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