Though the BBC News website coverage of the Telford child abuse scandal has now been 're-buried in Shropshire' under the headline Telford abuse: Victim numbers 'sensationalised' says police chief, the story continues to unfold. The Mirror is now putting the police themselves under its searchlight:
The report says:Officers investigating child sexual exploitation in the town were sent an internal memo telling them “in most cases the sex is consensual”
A person under 16 cannot be deemed in law to have consented to sex, but the word “consensual” was used to describe offences involving children four times in the memo.I see on Twitter that Sarah Champion MP is angry about this:
Police slammed over memo saying Telford child abuse was 'consensual' Grrrr! When will people understand that a child cannot consent?!?
As Laura Perrins of The Conservative Woman says, "This is incredible. Under section 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, rape of a child under 13 is a strict liability offence. Consent is irrelevant".
Hopefully the BBC will be asking questions of West Mercia Police about this - though given how they've dealt with the story so far that probably isn't very likely.