Local detectives have launched an investigation surrounding concerns for the welfare of a group of teenage girls at the privately run Islamic School for Girls in Lancaster.
In an updated statement to that issued earlier today, police say the investigation is currently concentrated on one incident which allegedly took place last week at the Jamea al Kauthar School on Ashton Road, Lancaster, but was only reported to police on Saturday (9th March).
At this stage, police say the inquiry is centred on a small number of girls and officers are trying to ascertain whether they are former or existing pupils.
Superintendent Andy Webster said: “We are still at the very early stages of what is a complex investigation. We have a team of specialist detectives working to establish the full circumstances around exactly what has happened, as well as offering support to those involved.
“Our aim at this stage is to respond to the concerns raised proportionately and with sensitivity, and in a way that we can minimise the impact on the school and the surrounding local community.
“We are working with partner organisations to ensure the necessary safeguarding measures are in place for all students at the school.
“We understand there will be concerned families – both in the UK and abroad – and in order to make it easier for them to contact us, a dedicated phone line has been set up. The number for parents in the UK is 0800 092 0410 and for those calling from outside the UK call 0207 158 0124.”
Searches have been conducted by specialist, female officers and carried out as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on the school and the surrounding local community.
Three men, who were on the premises when police attended on Sunday evening, have been arrested in connection with the investigation.
A 40 year old man from Bolton and a 30 year old man from Blackburn have been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and false imprisonment and a 53 year old man from Blackburn has been arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment.