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There have been more than 2,000 child victims of "on street" grooming since 2008, but poor data collection makes combating the problem more difficult - according to an official report.

Data collected by police and other agencies is patchy at best. Out of 2,083 victims recorded between January 2008 and March 2011 many did not even have their gender recorded.

There were 1,264 female victims and 182 male victims - the rest did not have their gender recorded.

Many of the victims were runaways aged between 14 and 15, the Times reported, quoting a Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) report due to be published next week.

The report looked at "on-street" grooming rather than online. The research said that child grooming was not associated with any one ethnic group but also found that 20 per cent of perpetrators were of Asian origin. In about 40 per cent of cases ethnicity was not recorded.

CEOP safeguarded 414 children in 2010-2011 and arrested 513 child sex offenders.

It is being absorbed into the National Crime Agency but will retain operational independence. ®

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