In Brief

West Yorkshire police arrest 55 men over child sex abuse

Dozens under investigation in Kirklees after seven women come forward

Police in West Yorkshire have arrested a total of 55 men over allegations of historic child sex abuse.

Dozens of men from Bradford, Batley and Dewsbury have been interviewed and released under investigation since November, the force confirmed in a statement. Enquiries into the claims against them are ongoing.

The arrests relate to claims brought forward by seven women, who say they were victims of sexual exploitation and abuse as children. The alleged offences took place in Dewsbury and Batley between 2002 and 2009.

Detective Inspector Ian Thornes said that protecting children was the force’s “top priority” and that the arrests are evidence of officers’ “commitment to the investigation of both current and non-recent sexual offences against children”.

“Child sexual abuse and exploitation is an abhorrent and heinous crime and one which affects some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” he added, urging victims of past or current abuse to come forward.

Last year, 20 men were convicted of raping and abusing underage girls in and around Huddersfield, the latest of several high-profile “grooming gang” cases in the north of England.

The BBC’s Home Editor, Mark Easton, said at the time the Huddersfield convictions were “an incarnation of a wider scandal”, noting that sex abuse against vulnerable children had historically often been “ignored or covered up”.

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