YEP Says, January 13: Police left playing catch-up in tackling child abuse menace

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...and is online shopping all it’s cracked up to be?

WHILE high-profile cases involving household names have pushed child sex exploitation into the spotlight, the truth is that it’s a menace that has always existed on the darker edges of society.

And of deepest concern is the fact that while Leeds has one of the biggest abuse problems in the region, with the number of children at risk of being groomed in the city more than trebling over the last three years, the police response is not up to scratch.

Inspectors said officers’ reactive approach limited their ability to catch suspects and delays in gathering evidence meant one high-risk offender sexually abused a six-year-old in the street while on bail as police were still searching his computer for indecent images.

Officers find it difficult to cope with the high volume of referrals and there have been delays of up to two weeks in assessing the needs of children involved in domestic abuse incidents.

Perhaps most damning of all is the fact that children have been held unnecessarily in police cells overnight.

All in all, the report paints a worrying picture of a force that is not responding as well as it should to an escalating problem.

Given the impact abuse can have on its young victims, it is of paramount importance that these concerns are addressed. At the moment there is a real danger that the lessons of scandals such as that which rocked Rotherham are being ignored.

Is online shopping all it’s cracked up to be?

ONLINE shopping was supposed to take the stress out of Christmas gift-buying – but it hasn’t quite worked out like that.

A survey of internet shoppers has found that almost one in three reported problems with the delivery of their orders in the lead-up to Christmas.

It’s in contrast with the year before when just one in five consumers experienced similar problems.

It could be a sign that companies simply weren’t geared up for the level of demand online.

Or maybe it’s finally proof that the last-minute dash around the shops on Christmas Eve isn’t such a bad strategy after all.