NOT FOR PUBLICATION: Det Supt Terry Sharpe from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command; and Francois Mvelle, General Manager of the Holiday Inn at Chingford will be available for interview at NSY tomorrow morning up until 10:30hrs.
To register your interest please email the Specialist Crime and Operations press desk at firstname.lastname@example.org
For any requests out-of-hours please contact the 24-hr press bureau on 020 7230 2171.
Note: Media are not invited to attend the conference.
Pubs: postcards and posters
- Taxis: postcards and posters
- Hotels: postcards
Training sheets: pubs / taxis / hotels
Three clips taken from the CSE peer-on-peer DVD are also available. They feature George Curtis from MSU (The MSunderstood Partnership) and Michelle Lyttle Storrod (Growing Against Gangs and Violence) talking about how this issue affects young people.
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The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is marking National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day by launching a London-wide initiative which calls on local businesses to help identify victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Borough police officers and representatives from local councils, the hospitality, transport and licensed premises industries will attend the launch of Operation Makesafe at New Scotland Yard today, Wednesday, 18 March.
Operation Makesafe seeks to educate people working in these trades, who encounter young people, of the CSE warning signs.
Following today's launch, taxi drivers, hoteliers and those working in licensed premises will be provided with bespoke CSE-awareness training by specially trained officers, showing them scenarios which should raise concerns and what action to take if they suspect a child is at risk.
Individuals will be encouraged to report any concerns via a dedicated hotline being staffed by specially trained police call-handlers to ensure a swift and appropriate response.
Businesses are also being encouraged to take a proactive role and implement measures to prevent their premises being used for CSE.
The initiative is being rolled out across London and is borne out of the joint London CSE operating protocol launched a year ago to raise awareness of CSE, enhance victim care and improve referral pathways. A renewed focus of attention in this area and greater understanding of how to identify those children at risk of abuse and sexual exploitation is giving us a clearer picture of the extent of the problem in the capital.
A year on, we have made amendments to the protocol in order to improve its effectiveness, including developing new Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders.
Over 250 civil prevention orders have been served on suspected perpetrators and over 900 flags identifying children potentially at risk of CSE and suspected perpetratorshave been entered onto the Police National Computer (PNC).
Evidence in the last 12 months shows that early intervention and disruption strategies by all partners have prevented the escalation CSE.
The conference also sees the launch of an educational DVD about peer-on-peer CSE aimed at professionals. Commissioned by the MPS, in collaboration with Barnardos and the CSE National Working Group, the video features professionals such as Professor Alexis Jay, author of the independent inquiry into CSE in Rotherham and outlines scenarios of peer-on-peer CSE, the warning signs and what action to take if it is suspected that a child is at risk. The DVD will be made available nationally.
In the last year the MPS has received nearly 1,700 CSE referrals, through which 1,185 children were identified as being at risk of CSE.
Seventy-seven perpetrators were arrested, convicted and sentenced to over 100 years in prison. These include Jason Winskill, jailed for 15 years for the rape of and sexual activity with a child, and Jahvin Ewen, jailed for five years and four months for raping a child.
Today, police officers across London will also carry out activities to raise awareness of CSE, including visiting schools and youth clubs, and leafleting at train stations, GP surgeries, health centres and pharmacies.
Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe, of the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "Child sexual exploitation is a hidden crime and today is an opportunity for us to share our experience and knowledge to raise awareness within a vital group - those who witness all manner of scenarios on a daily basis.
“We all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe from harm. Getting the local business sector on board will help us preveng and detect child sexual exploitation, and safeguard those at risk.
“Operation Makesafe has already had a positive impact during its pilot phase. Our work in this area and understanding of the issue is much improved in recent times, but we cannot tackle this issue alone. We need the public to tell us if they suspect child sexual exploitation. They could provide us with the opportunity to intervene before any harm occurs.”
General manager of the Holiday Inn in Chingford, Francois Mvelle, said: "We are committed to working with the Metropolitan Police Service on Operation Makesafe by raising awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) to all of our staff; and where suspicions are evident, to report them to police by calling 101."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
CSE is defined as a young person being manipulated into a sexual relationship or situation by an adult. It often involves the youngster being offered drugs, alcohol, money, gifts, cigarettes, mobile phones or 'love' in return for performing sexual acts.
CSE can occur through the use of technology without the child realising that they are being exploited. For example, the victim may be persuaded to post sexual images on the internet or send them via their mobile phones, without immediate payment or gain.
A common feature of CSE is that the victims do not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship or see themselves as a victim of sexual exploitation. As a result they are unlikely to report the abuse,so the issue remains seriously under reported.
In February 2014 the MPS launched the London CSE operating protocol - a multi-agency document outlining robust processes designed to enhance victim care through improved referral pathways.
Agreed across all 32 boroughs, the protocol sets out the standards expected of all those agencies involved in dealing with the identification and protection of vulnerable children who are targeted for sexual abuse.