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Summary

  1. Updates on Thursday 10 August 2017

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BreakingFormer police chief 'kept in the dark' about payment to rapist

Former Northumbria Police chief constableSue Sim says she was "kept in the dark" about a £10,000 payment to an informant who was a child rapist.

She told BBC Newcastle that Operation Sanctuary started while she was still in charge, and the force should not have paid the man, known only as XY.

She said: "I cannot condone the use of an informant who was a child rapist.

"There are a number of reasons for that, firstly, the fact of the matter is two wrongs can never make a right.

"I’ve heard the chief constable today saying that you will use any tactic to take these people off the streets, that can never be correct."

Asked why the use of XY was not brought to her attention, she said: "I really don’t know, but I should imagine that the reason was they knew that I would say no.

"And the reason that I say no is, as I’ve said, where do you stop? Where do you draw the line?

"Well, actually, they certainly never told me. I absolutely was kept in the dark about it."

Sue Sim
BBC

'People are more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about child abuse'

The shadow women and equalities secretary, Sarah Champion, says there is a lack of action in child exploitation because people are "more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about child abuse".

The Labour MP for Rotherham said people need to acknowledge that the majority of perpetrators have been British-Pakistani in towns where grooming cases have occured.

She's also calling for more Government research.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion
PA

Charity say payment to convicted paedophile was justified

A charity working with the victims of Operation Sanctuary says the payment of a child rapist by Northumbria Police was justified.

The force has faced criticism for giving over £10,000 to a convicted paedophile known as XY in exchange for information in their biggest ever investigation.

Changing Lives has worked with 49 victims of Sanctuary.

The charity's chief executive, Stephen Bell, said that few sex crimes are prosecuted and even fewer lead to convictions.

To have 18 out of 25 (Operation Shelter) defendants prosecuted and convicted and taken off the streets is a huge percentage.

Therefore you can argue that the ends justify the means. We know that a number of people would not have been jailed without this information. I understand it is very emotive."

Appeal after three indecent exposures on Teesside

A man indecently exposed himself three times in Norton, police have said.

The first incident happened on Saturday 29 July at about 08:30 when a woman was followed by a man who exposed himself on the path between Milburn Crescent and Ida Street.

On Monday 31 July at about 08:30 and Tuesday 1 August at about 16:30 the same man stood in the bushes in the park close to Milburn Crescent and exposed himself to a female dog walker.

The man is white, about 5ft 8in, of slim build with short dark, hair.

He is believed to be between 35 and 40 years old.

Operation Sanctuary: Newcastle community leaders react
Newcastle community leaders react to the convictions of a grooming network.

Informants 'cheapest and most efficient way of solving crime'

A former undercover police officer says that paying informants is the cheapest and most efficient way of solving crime.

It comes as Northumbria Police have faced criticism for paying a child rapist to assist in a large scale abuse case in Newcastle.

Neil Woods spent 14 years posing as a drug addict in order to infiltrate drug gangs, and he would use informers to tip him off before he went undercover.

He said they would be paid anything from £20 to £14,000, and he also described working with them as a very fine line, as they have to be handled very carefully so as not to put them at risk.

Over the last five years UK forces have paid out more than £22m to informants.

Watch: Rotherham MP says it's 'morally repugnant' to pay paedophile informant

Kevin Larkin

BBC Local Live, Yorkshire

Rotherham's MP says it is "morally repugnant" to pay paedophiles to act as informants.

However, Sarah Champion, who is also Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, said using paedophiles as informants, unpaid, is worthwhile if it prevents abuse.

She was reacting after Northumbria Police was criticised for paying a paedophile £10,000 to act as an informant in a recent abuse case:

Jeremy Corbyn 'very uncomfortable' about evidence payments

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he is "very uncomfortable" about anyone being paid for evidence of any sort.

Jeremy Corbyn
BBC

He spoke out after Northumbria Police employed a child rapist to assist in their biggest ever investigation.

The man, known as XY, was paid over £10,000 to help in a case which saw 17 men and one woman convicted of sexual abuse against children as young as 14 in Newcastle.

He added: "It's also important that women are protected and safe guarded, and that prosecutions actually take place for people committing the most heinous crimes possible."

Woman fighting for life after subway attack

A woman is fighting for her life after being attacked in a Darlington underpass in the early hours of this morning.

Police were called to Bondgate in the town just before 0230 responding to reports of a domestic incident.

The victim is currently in hospital with what are described as "life-threatening injuries."

A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.

Underpass in Darlington
Google

County Durham 'bleach attack' did not happen

Police investigating after a woman said she had a chemical thrown into her face in County Durham now say they believe the incident did not happen.

A 21-year-old woman reported that a gang attacked her with a corrosive liquid that smelled like bleach in an alleyway in Newton Aycliffe last month.

A spokeman from Durham Police said: "However, following a full investigation it now appears the incident did not take place and officers are no longer looking for anyone in connection with it."

Grooming gangs 'are being probed more rigorously'

A former Crown Prosecution Service chief has admitted that cases of grooming gangs targeting white girls were not previously examined as rigorously in the past as they might have been now.

Lord Macdonald of River Glaven's comments came after Newcastle became the latest in a list of towns and cities where sex rings have been exposed.

Eighteen people, mostly of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian backgrounds, were convicted for sex crimes against girls as young as 14 yesterday as part of Northumbria Police's biggest ever operation.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Liberal Democrat peer said all communities need to recognise it is a "profoundly racist crime".

You can hear the full interview here:

Tackling sex gangs is 'challenge of our generation'

BBC Radio 5 live

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman has said tackling sex grooming gangs like the one that has just been convicted in Newcastle is the "challenge of our generation".

Most of those convicted were from Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian backgrounds, and while Mr Ashman said more than 460 people from "just about every community you can imagine" had been arrested, the "overwhelming majority are not white".

He told BBC Radio 5 Live every part of society must discuss the issue of grooming gangs adding: "There is no political correctness here, we treat these people as criminals without fear or failure."

Mr Ashman said: "Why is it in a number of communities it is acceptable for men to hold this attitude and belief about principally white women?

"We have to get a to a point where there is a shame and stigma attached to this ethos and way of life that it is not acceptable."

The full story of Newcastle's child sex gang

Chris Jackson

BBC Inside Out

Did you miss BBC Inside Out's report on the conviction of a child sex grooming gang last night?

Here is the full programme:

A special report on how police paid a child rapist to inform on a Newcastle grooming gang.

Labour MP criticises police over payment to rapist

Newcastle Central Labour MP Chi Onwurah has put out a statement which criticises Northumbria Police for paying a convicted child rapist:

The use of informants is an operational matter for Northumbria Police and it clear that by securing so many convictions, Operation Sanctuary has helped make Newcastle a safer city.

Nevertheless it is important that no child rapist should gain financially as a consequence of their terrible crime, particularly from State funds. I understand that this is not the case here."

Weather: Chilly start but sunny afternoon

BBC Weather

After a chilly start in places, the day will be dry across the region with some good sunny spells and light winds.

However onshore breezes will keep it a little cooler around the coast in the afternoon.

Click here for more weather.

Weather
BBC

Man stabbed in Horden

A man has been found with life-threatening injuries in Horden.

He was discovered last night at 18:52 in Warren Square near to Geordies Pizza.

The man had been stabbed several times and was given CPR by bystanders, two off-duty nurses and police before ambulance and air ambulance arrived.

A 43-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and a 34-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

The victim remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Child rapist 'did not attend parties'

Northumbria Police chief Steve Ashman has dismissed claims a child rapist was asked to attend sex parties as part of an investigation into a grooming gang.

The force has been criticised for giving £10,000 to the informant known as XY as part of an operation which saw 18 people convicted.

Mr Ashman said: "We absolutely did not task (XY) to go to parties with vulnerable women and girls.

"The use of the informant was principally about finding out who might be involved, the cars they were using, the addresses they were living at.

Group
Northumbria Police

"This was a starting point, it never resulted in XY being exposed to offending."

Mr Ashman said the man was prohibited from attending parties but couldn't be 100% sure he stuck to the rules.

He said he understood it was a "really challenging moral dilemma" that he and his officers have had to "wrestle with and reassess throughout".

But he said he was "content what we have done is the right thing".

MP 'ashamed' of sex gang in city

BBC Newcastle

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah says she is "ashamed" a child grooming gang was able to operate in her city.

The Labour MP said: "I feel personally ashamed that the city in which I grew up, and which I now have the privilege to represent, harboured men who could abuse those they should have protected."

Ms Onwurah also said she did not like the idea of police paying a child rapist £10,000 for information but said by securing so many convictions, the operation "has helped make Newcastle a safer city".

Chi
Labour party

She also said it was wrong to use the actions of the gang, who were mainly from Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian backgrounds, to criticse the Asian communities.

Ms Onwurah said: "Crimes of sexual exploitation can be and are committed by members of all communities and indeed it remains regrettably true that sexual abuse is most likely to come from within the family circle."

A19 southbound closed after crash

Newspaper headlines: Anger over £10,000 child rapist 'spy'

The trials of 18 sex offenders who groomed, drugged and raped underage girls were jeopardised because police paid a convicted child rapist £10,000 to spy on the gang, says the Metro.

Metro front page
Metro

The Sun also leads on the Newcastle child sexual abuse case, saying that Northumbria Police recruited the informant to spy on parties where girls were at risk of rape.

Sun front page
The Sun

Police chief defends paying child rapist for information

Chris Jackson

BBC Inside Out

A police chief has said paying a child rapist £10,000 as part of an investigation into a grooming gang was the right thing to do.

Northumbria Police's Steve Ashman said the information provided by the man led to the conviction of 17 men and a woman for abusing girls in Newcastle.

Ashman
BBC

Charities have criticised the force for paying the criminal.

Mr Ashman told BBC News he was as "certain as I can be" that it was "morally" right.

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