Rightwing groups including Ukip are attempting to “infiltrate” child protection charities to further an anti-Islam agenda, officials from the government’s counter-extremism programme believe.
Officers from Prevent said far-right figures were using voluntary groups to stir up tension in towns with historical problems of child sexual exploitation.
In Rochdale, a community group for child sexual abuse survivors, Shatter Boys, said it had been approached repeatedly by senior Ukip figures including Lord Pearson, who offered to introduce them to millionaire donors and fund an open-top bus to raise the alarm about grooming gangs.
Daniel Wolstencroft, the founder of Shatter Boys, said: “What they’re doing basically is grooming survivor groups and survivors of abuse. I think their fight is about Islam.”
Pearson’s offer of funding, made during a private lunch at the House of Lords, followed months of courting by the Ukip families spokesman, Alan Craig, who last year said Muslim grooming gangs had committed a “Holocaust of our children”.
Craig, who said paedophilia could be traced back “to Muhammad himself”, approached the Rochdale-based group on social media before attending one of its street patrols with a leading member of the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).
The Ukip leader, Gerard Batten, spoke at a rally in Rochdale organised by the DFLA last April. The DFLA has described the Greater Manchester town as being on its “hit list” for anti-grooming demonstrations.