POLICE have received 65 tip-offs about child grooming in Bury in less than one year, according to new statistics.
The figures follow the 2012 grooming scandal in Rochdale, which saw nine men jailed for abusing young girls and were collected by a new system which aims to allow police to detect the signs of sexual exploitation, and protect children.
The statistics were analysed for Stockport MP Ann Coffey, who is conducting an inquiry into how children can be better protected against sexual exploitation.
Across the region, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) received 2,286 tip-offs in the 10 months to January this year.
Rochdale saw the highest number of tip offs, with 693, South Manchester received 269 and Oldham received 224. Bury received the lowest number of tip-offs across Greater Manchester, in a list which was completed by Tameside, Stockport, Bolton, North Manchester, Wigan, Trafford and Salford.
Intelligence received by police included calls from worried members of the public, observations from police officers on the beat, as well as information from social services and schools who feared sexual exploitation may be taking place.
Following the Rochdale scandal, GMP set up a new system of ‘flagging’ potential victims and perpetrators of sexual exploitation in February 2013, and these are the first figures to be released since its introduction.
Ms Coffey said the statistics show that the public now have their “eyes and ears wide open”.
She said: “It shows that the level of concern among people in Greater Manchester is high. However there is still a long way to go and many incidences will still be unreported.
"It is important that all the community is involved in sharing information to try to prevent children from being groomed and coming to harm.”
Ms Coffey, who is also the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, is conducting the inquiry on behalf of Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd.
Mr Lloyd said: “These figures may shock us, but it is positive that members of the public are willing to go to police. Police and other agencies have to take action where young people are being sexually exploited.”