Police have arrested 40 people as part of Operation Teeford, an investigation into non-recent child sexual abuse in West Yorkshire.
A total of 38 men and two women were arrested as part of an investigation into crimes which happened between 1989 and 1999, predominantly in Dewsbury and Batley.
Kirklees District police said the arrests came after months of investigation, supported by nine victims who were young girls at the time of the offences.
DCI Ian Thornes, who leads non-recent child sexual exploitation investigations in Kirklees, said officers will “leave no stone unturned” in order to secure justice for the victims.
He said: “Safeguarding and protecting children remains a top priority for West Yorkshire police. This ongoing investigation again demonstrates our determination to investigate all reports of child sexual abuse in Kirklees and West Yorkshire, whether recent, or from a number of years ago.
“This arrest phase has followed many months of investigation into reports of sexual offences against young girls in Dewsbury and Batley between 1989 and 1999 and we continue to work with and support victims.
“We firmly mean it when we say no stone is left unturned to thoroughly examine all reports of these abhorrent offences which affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
He urged anyone who had been a victim of a similar historical crime to report it to police.
He added: “Tackling child abuse is not something that any one agency can do in isolation; we work closely with local authorities, other organisations and charities to support victims, bringing the perpetrators to justice, to make our communities safer.
“We would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, whether recent or from the past, to report it to the police. Please be assured that you will be listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals with experience of dealing with these kind of offences.”
All of those arrested have now been released on police bail pending continuing inquiries.
Police said the investigation is not connected to other historic child sexual exploitation inquiries in the Kirklees area.
Operation Teeford is part of an ongoing initiative in West Yorkshire to investigate a number of decades-old cases of grooming and child sexual exploitation by gangs of men.
Source: (The Guardian)