West Yorkshire Police were today set to raise awareness during visits to schools to mark the first national Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day.
Officers across West Yorkshire are joining forces with local councils to visit schools and businesses including taxi firms, hotels and hostels, to increase knowledge of how to spot signs of the offence.
Police who are specially trained in dealing with concerns and reports of child sexual exploitation will be staffing information stands with partners in Wakefield and Bradford.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster, of West Yorkshire Police, said “In West Yorkshire we currently have a number of major CSE investigations underway and the force is absolutely committed to working effectively with both our statutory partners and third sector organisations to provide support and wrap around care for victims and in doing so maximise opportunities to bring the perpetrators of such horrendous crimes to justice”.
“We take all reports of child abuse extremely seriously and will act accordingly - I would like to reassure everyone that if they have any concerns at all that a child might be a victim of CSE we would like to hear from them. Even if the outcome is that there isn’t a crime being committed we would rather look into it than it go unreported. No-one will be blamed or criticised for making these claims regardless of the outcome.”
The ACC said the force had dedicated teams trained to deal with CSE victims and witnesses and stressed that those contacting the force would be dealt with extremely sensitively.
“We have dedicated safeguarding officers in all 5 district across West Yorkshire and these officers are specially trained to deal with this type of crime. We will never judge or blame you or the victim for what has happened and I would urge anyone who does have information to contact us.”