Officers across South Yorkshire carried out dedicated operation throughout the last week as part of the region’s commitment to tackle child sexual exploitation, ahead of national CSE Awareness Day on Saturday 18 March.
As part of South Yorkshire Police’s week of activity raising awareness of child sexual exploitation across the region, officers visited a number of hotels across South Yorkshire to identify whether premises were able to recognise and knew how to act on suspected sexual exploitation and abuse.
This follows hotels across South Yorkshire receiving the internationally recognised Operation Makesafe training package, which has been delivered to businesses across the region to help them spot warning signs of potential child sexual exploitation.
The operations are similar to test purchase operations ran by police to test whether shops sell alcohol or cigarettes without checking for ID. These targeted operations saw an adult man, played by a police officer, try to book a hotel room with a teenage girl, played by a police cadet.
In Sheffield five hotels were visited and at all five, the officer and cadet were refused rooms and challenged by hotel staff.
The operation in Barnsley saw seven hotels visited and access was denied at six out of seven hotels. The remaining hotel received advice and refresher training from officers about warning signs of potential sexual exploitation.
In Doncaster, the operation went to 13 hotels and of those, seven refused access to the officer and cadet as they had suspicions about child sexual exploitation. Six premises did not intervene and were given immediate feedback by police officers addressing the key areas of concern. All premises will receive written feedback on the operation and further Makesafe training packages will be rolled out in the coming months.
Rotherham carried out a similar operation, where a number of hotels were visited and two failed to report their concerns to officers. They were given a full debrief and further Operation Makesafe training was arranged.
Detective Chief Inspector Melanie Palin, force lead for child sexual exploitation said: “Overall, the operations across our region went very well and I am grateful to the officers and young cadets who gave up their time to take part in this exercise.
“Operations like this are massively important – we work closely with hospitality and other industries to make sure as many people as possible have the necessary training to spot potential signs of child sexual exploitation and know how to take action to safeguard children.
“This is part of our ongoing commitment to tackling this crime, working in partnership with businesses, agencies, communities and the wider public to protect and safeguard our young people from harm.
“While there has been concerted and targeted activity over the last week in the run-up to CSE Awareness Day, this is a continuous programme of activity and similar operations will be run in the future.”