Up to 40 police officers are involved in an investigation in which three men have been arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment and sexual assault following an incident at the Jamea Al Kauthar Islamic School for Girls in Lancaster.
An incident allegedly took place last Tuesday, March 5, within the 40 acre school grounds in Ashton Road, involving a “small group of teenage girls”.
Supt Andy Webster, who is leading the investigation, said: “We launched an inquiry after receiving a call highlighting potential concerns for the welfare of a small group of teenage girls at the Islamic girls’ school in Lancaster.
“The investigation is currently focusing on one incident which allegedly took place last Tuesday.
“This was reported to us on Saturday and relates to a small number of girls.
“We are trying to ascertain whether they are existing or former pupils of the school.
“Our aim at this stage is to respond to the information given to us in a proportionate and sensitive way.
“We will seek to minimise the impact and the disruption to the school and our local communities whilst we investigate the allegation.”
Police executed a search warrant at the school yesterday, Sunday.
Between 30 and 40 officers were involved.
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.
All are currently in custody.
Police have issued two dedicated telephone numbers for families wishing to contact them if they have any concerns.
Families in the UK should contact 0800 092 0410 and families abroad should call 020 7158 0124.
The school has 400 pupils aged between 11 and 20.
A school statement released today said: “The school is aware of the allegations that have been made and at the present moment the school is fully co-operating with the police with their investigations into the matter.
“The school will publish a statement of any details it receives, once this has been received. We expect the matter to be cleared up soon.”