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He said the investigation was at "an extremely sensitive stage" and street grooming was the force's top priority, "a bigger priority than gun crime".
He said the investigation was looking at cases in Rochdale dating back to 2003.
Despite one victim going to the police in 2008 to report the grooming, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute two men, invoking the witness's credibility.
As a result of the CPS dropping the case, the police halted their investigation, which was resumed when a second girl made complaints of a similar nature in December 2009.
The victims, vulnerable teenagers from deprived, dysfunctional backgrounds, were targeted in "honeypot locations" where young people congregated, such as takeaway food shops.
One victim, a 15-year-old known as the Honey Monster, acted as a recruiter, procuring girls as young as 13 for the gang.
Nine men were convicted of sex trafficking and other offences including rape, trafficking girls for sex and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, on and 10 more were convicted in another investigation in 2015.Mohammed Amin received a five-year sentence for sexual assault and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children.Another five-year sentence was given to Abdul Qayyum for conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children while Hamid Safi received four years for trafficking for sexual exploitation and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children.Now they weren’t prepared to do that." Tim Loughton, the Minister for Children and Families, said that while there was no evidence that ethnic communities condoned child sexual abuse, he was concerned that some had been slow to report it to the police, and urged police and social workers not to allow "political correctness around ethnicity" to hinder their work to apprehend such criminals.
After members of the Rochdale gang were sentenced, the UK's Department of Education announced new funding for a specialist foster care scheme to protect vulnerable children in residential care, where some victims had been.Shabir Ahmed received the longest sentence, 19 years for rape, aiding and abetting a rape, sexual assault, trafficking for sexual exploitation and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children.