BRITISH home secretary Sajid Javid has said ignoring the ethnicity of criminals guilty of grooming children would give “oxygen to extremists” as he reiterated his view that convicted gangs were likely to comprise men of Pakistani heritage.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4 yesterday (26), Javid said he was “very much aware of the need for politicians to be careful with their language”.
And he added: “When it comes to gang-based child exploitation it is self-evident to anyone who cares to look that if you look at all the recent high-profile cases there is a high proportion of men that have Pakistani heritage.”
In October, when a gang of 20 was convicted of grooming offences in Huddersfield, the home secretary said in a post on Twitter: “These sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice. I want to commend the bravery of the victims. For too long, they were ignored. Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas.”
That post was criticised by some who said the focus should be on securing justice for victims and preventing the crimes, rather than the ethnicity of the grooming gangs.
In the BBC interview broadcast on Boxing Day, the home secretary said, “There could be – I’m not saying that there are – there could be some cultural reasons from the communities that these men came from that could lead to this kind of behaviour.”
When he took charge as home secretary, Javid, who is of Pakistani origin, said he had ordered the Home Office to research the “characteristics and contexts” of gangs abusing children.
He added: “For me to rule something out just because it would be considered sensitive would be wrong.
“If I had ignored it, or been seen to ignore it, that is exactly what I think extremists would like to see in this country. It would give them oxygen and I refuse to do that.”
To another question on stripping offenders of their acquired dual nationalities and being deported to Pakistan, Javid said: “I’m the British home secretary and my job is to protect the British public, to do what I think is right to protect the British public. That’s my number one job.”