- A Channel 4 documentary that claims Asian men in Bradford
have been "grooming" young white girls for sex was withdrawn
hours before it was due to be broadcast last night after the police warned
it could spark racial violence.
- Channel 4 said it was acting as a "responsible broadcaster"
by postponing the screening of Edge of the City after West Yorkshire police
said it would inflame an already combustible racial situation in the city.
- The documentary, which examines the work of Bradford
social services, includes claims that "charismatic, wealthier"
Asian men are targeting white girls as young as 11 for sex and drug abuse.
- It follows the attempts by two mothers to track down
the men who are said to have taken control of their daughters through a
combination of drugs and intimidation.
- West Yorkshire police asked Channel 4 to withdraw the
programme after seeing a preview on Wednesday.
- Colin Cramphorn, the chief constable, raised fears of
a repetition of the race riots which erupted in Bradford three years ago.
In a letter to Mark Thompson, Channel 4's chief executive, he said the
documentary could lead to "community disorder".
- Racial tensions in the city are already high in the run-up
to the local and European elections, for which the British National Party
is putting up 10 candidates in the area.
- The pressure group Unite Against Fascism has expressed
fears that the allegations could serve as a recruitment video for the extreme
Right. The BNP's website has been urging supporters to watch the programme,
describing it as "the first of two BNP political broadcasts".
- Channel 4 said the party's attempt to capitalise on the
documentary had not influenced its decision, dismissing it as a "pathetic
attempt to jump on the bandwagon of a serious documentary".
- The documentary makers spent a year in Bradford following
the city's social services. The alleged grooming of young girls by Asian
men was a "prime issue facing Bradford's social services", Channel
- The programme also follows the social services dealings
with the elderly, including an 81-year-old who spends all day and night
in a chair but will not accept help, and a Muslim social worker who is
given the job of mentoring a white 17-year-old with 96 convictions and
keeping him out of trouble.
- Anna Hall, the producer, whose previous work includes
documentaries about teenage mothers and female students at Oxford, said
she was happy with the decision to postpone the broadcast.
- Despite the potentially explosive allegations, Channel
4 insisted the documentary would be shown later this year.
- "We stand by the claims 100 per cent," said
the spokesman. "The film is a very well-researched, well-made documentary.
It is in the public interest that this film is shown and we intend to broadcast
it as soon as we can."
- Sabby Dhalu, joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism,
said: "It is particularly dangerous to show this programme before
the elections, so we welcome Channel 4's decision. But it is likely to
whip up racism whenever it is shown and the BNP will seek to capitalise
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