Shropshire

Telford CSE family faces threat of gunmen visit

Telford Image copyright Gavin Dickson
Image caption Telford is at the centre of an investigation into child sexual exploitation

Police have written to the family of a child sexual exploitation (CSE) victim warning its safety could be at serious risk.

The letter points to concerns people might turn up at the home with guns in relation to a previous police matter.

The West Mercia force says it will work to "minimise the risk" but despite the grave warning, cannot protect the family "day by day".

The family lives in Telford, which is at the centre of a CSE probe.

The police correspondence from June, known as an Osman warning, advises the family to "to increase your own safety", suggesting burglar alarms, CCTV and bolts on doors.

It adds: "It may even be that you decide it is more appropriate for you to leave the area."

Police issue Osman notices when there is intelligence suggesting a possible threat to someone's safety, but not enough evidence for officers to make arrests.

Image caption Police have advised a Telford CSE victim's family to consider leaving the area

A force spokesperson said: "When [Osman] letters are issued, they are always accompanied by a thorough investigation and a detailed assessment of any risk posed.

"Detailed advice, security measures and all appropriate operational options are then always discussed and offered to ensure the safety of those who are affected."

The force adds that while the letters inform the recipient police have received intelligence, it does not mean they have corroborated the information.

Police commented after confirming the letter's authenticity in connection with "reports on social media".

Lucy Allan, Telford's Conservative MP, says she has arranged to meet with the family on Friday where they will discuss its next steps, and indicates she will raise the "sensitive" case with police and the Home Office.

An inquiry is under way to gauge the extent of CSE in Telford following a newspaper's claims up to 1,000 girls had been abused by grooming gangs since the 1980s. Police have disputed the figures.

It is thought the inquiry will not conclude before 2021.

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