Net widens in Glasgow teenage sex abuse inquiry
Scotland on Sunday last week revealed details of Operation Dash, which is looking into the exploitation of teenagers in Glasgow, many of whom are thought to have absconded from children’s homes.
The investigation carried on the work of Operation Cotswold, which was set up in 2011 and focused on a group of Middle Eastern asylum seekers in the north of the city.
At least 26 potential victims were identified and files were sent to the procurator-fiscal, but no prosecutions were brought.
It is understood vulnerable young girls were found in the home of one or more suspects, but many identified as at risk did not see themselves as victims and were reluctant to co-operate, making it difficult to gather evidence and get the case to court.
Police said 22 people had now been reported to the procurator-fiscal as a result of Operation Dash.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Between May 2013 and August 2014, investigations have resulted in 22 individuals being reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.”
Working in partnership with the charity Barnardo’s Scotland to gather intelligence, the police launched Operation Dash as an attempt to root out child sexual exploitation (CSE) across what was then the Strathclyde force area.
It is understood that a number of fast-food outlets and taxi services were linked to CSE and a number of suspected perpetrators, many Asian, were targeted by the investigation.
Details of the investigation emerged in the days following a damning report into failings in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where 1,400 girls were sexually exploited by Asian men over a 16-year period.
Report author Professor Alexis Jay, former chief social work adviser to the Scottish Government, said children as young as 11 had been raped by a number of different men, abducted, beaten and trafficked to other north of England towns.
Some had been doused in petrol, set alight and threatened with guns.
The report revealed the abuse, much of which centred around fast-food outlets and taxi services, had been flagged up to the authorities in three separate reports from 2002 onwards.
It found that the information they contained was either suppressed, downplayed or ignored. Council staff had also worried about being branded racist by highlighting the ethnicity of the offenders.
Just 8 per cent of the town’s 260,000 population was from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.