As a father of 2 girls, I want them to be free of threat: Rishi Sunak
has vowed to hunt down and stamp out grooming gangs who prey on children and young women and make their ringleaders subject to maximum life sentences as part of his campaign pledge to be elected Conservative Party leader and the next British Prime Minister.
Under a government headed by him, the said this week that members of grooming rings will automatically face criminal charges for belonging to or facilitating the activity of the gang, with those at its heart facing life sentences. In a further crackdown on sex offenders, the former Chancellor will ban so-called “down-blousing”, where perpetrators take photos down a woman's top without their consent to curb abuse targeted at women and bring more offenders to justice.
“Sexual violence against women and girls should be treated as a national emergency until it has been defeated. As a father of two girls, I want them to be able to go for a walk in the evening or to a shop at night without any fear of threat,” said Sunak, to schoolgirls Anoushka and Krishna (pictured).
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He said: “As Chancellor I boosted support for victims to record levels – quadruple those under Labour – and a ground-breaking new approach to policing which is helping drive up prosecutions of sex offenders. As Prime Minister I will go further. I will make it a criminal offence if you harass women by taking intimate images of them without their consent and will introduce a major crackdown on grooming gangs.
“We cannot let sensitivities over race stop us from catching dangerous criminals who prey on women and I will not stop until we live in a society where women and girls can go about their daily lives feeling safe and secure.”
The British Indian former finance minister, who is married to – the daughter of Indian software major Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy, said he would set up a new emergency taskforce working at the heart of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to launch an investigation into any town or city where significant grooming gang activity has been found and root it out.
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If elected to succeed at 10 Downing Street, Sunak promises to force suspects to explain why they have the phone numbers or contact details of children. They will also have to reveal their ethnicity or nationality for the purposes of crime prevention.
He also plans to launch a National Grooming Gangs Whistleblower Network to gather intelligence on gangs and create a dedicated database to help the police monitor suspects. Besides, the focus will be on boosting training for frontline police to help them identify victims of grooming gangs and remind officers to serve without fear or favour, including the fear of being accused of .