The county’s taxi drivers, hoteliers and licensed premises are being asked to support the police and local authorities to recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation and help keep children and young people safe across Northamptonshire.
As part of the ongoing ‘Say Something if you See Something’ campaign, those who work in these fields have been given bespoke training materials about child sexual exploitation (CSE) so they are aware of the indicators that could mean a child is at risk of being exploited.
The materials, which are attached, provide guidance about the signs to look out for and actions which must be taken if staff see anything which may indicate a child is at risk, along with a ‘safeguarding checklist’ of procedures to adhere to in order to fulfil safeguarding requirements in their area of business.
Detective Chief Inspector Rich Tompkins, who leads the RISE (Reducing Incidents of Sexual Exploitation) team, said:
“People who work in these industries are in a unique position to spot the signs of CSE and they have a duty to notice when all may not be right and to pass their concerns on to the police – potentially saving a child from this horrendous crime.
“Exploited children are often terrified and usually too scared to raise the alarm and ask for help. Taxi drivers, for example, need to notice when all may not be right with passengers in their vehicle, hotel reception staff need to look out for unusual bookings, and bar staff need to be alert to a number of indicators and raise the alarm if necessary.
“CSE is often hidden from view and going unnoticed. We need our licensed drivers and licensed premises, who are in a unique position to act as our eyes and ears, to spot activity or predatory behaviour that may be linked to child sexual exploitation and let us know so we can act quickly to safeguard victims and bring their abusers to justice.”
Iain Low, who is the Strategic Manager at Northamptonshire County Council’s Safeguarding and Children's Services, said:
“We have a duty to ensure frontline service industries are armed with the right information and are supported by police and local authority professionals.
“We must all work together to protect our children and raising awareness of CSE is crucial so that everybody across the county can spot the signs and speak out to stop it. These training materials will help us work together to inform, educate and prevent children from being sexually abused and it will soon be a mandatory requirement to undertake the CSE module as part of gaining a new taxi licence.
“We’ve had great support from all the businesses concerned who are fully supportive of the initiative and happy to join in the fight against child sexual exploitation.”
Anyone who is concerned about the safety of a young person should call the Child Safeguarding Team on 0300 126 1000, Northamptonshire Police on 101, or in an emergency call 999.
The new materials are available for download on the attached links.