Dear Mr Graham,
I am a freelance writer, researcher and campaigner and I am currently looking in to reports of the sexual harassment of girls by so-called “Asian” gangs across the United Kingdom. It was in this capacity that I have recently spoken to Ellie Reynolds (15), a resident of Barrow in Furness. I met Ms Reynolds, along with her mother, on the 5th of December 2016 at their home in Barrow in Furness.
Ms Reynolds informed me that on the evening of August 8th 2016, she and a 13 year old friend were walking on Hindpool Road, Barrow in Furness, when they were approached by a car containing a group of men. The men repeatedly told the two girls to “get in the car”. Both girls refused to do so, but Ms Reynolds was alarmed when they then told her “we’ve got your details anyway” and that they appeared to know her name. She is unsure how this could be, as she had never seen the men before.
As the girls walked on, the first car was joined by others – taking the total to four – and some of these men began taking photos of the girls. The parents of both girls later phoned the police to report the incident. Ellie had taken two photographs of some of the cars and offered to show these to the police. Ms Reynolds described the men as looking “like Turks”. She also informed me that she knows of other young girls who have had similar experiences in the town since this incident took place.
As of December 5th 2016, no contact has been made by the police to Ellie Reynolds or her parents. There was one apparent contact when police claim to have called to her house, but the Reynolds family dispute this. As of December 5th 2016, no police officer has seen the relevant photographs or, according to the Reynolds family, taken any interest in doing so.
Furthermore, Theresa McMeekin, a friend of the Reynolds family, informs me that a task force had been established to deal with harassment from men in cars in the town. Ms McMeekin phoned the task forced to inform them that she had photographs of the cars involved in the incident involving Ms Reynolds (the Reynolds family had sent the photos to Ms McMeekin) but police allegedly told Ms McMeekin that she could not report this as she herself was not directly involved in the incident. The Reynolds family once again phoned police at that point, but to date, have not yet received a visit from police.
Ms McMeekin informs me that local a journalist, when he attempted to investigate the matter further, told her that police had explained to him that Ms Reynolds no longer wished to pursue the matter; when in fact Ms Reynolds had been waiting for contact from police.
I intend to publish this story on or around Monday 12th December and would appreciate your response to the following questions:
1) Is the task force mentioned above still in existence and is information from the public sought? If so, why was Ms McMeekin’s information refused?
2) Why have police not yet seen the photos taken by Ms Reynolds and why have the Reynolds family not yet been spoken to directly by police?
3) Why was a local journalist told that Ms Reynolds no longer intended to pursue the matter by police, when this was not the case?
4) Do police in Barrow in Furness intend to pursue this matter?
I would appreciate your reply to these questions as soon as possible.