02:08PM, Tuesday 03 March 2015
Supt Kate Ford, LPA Commander for Windsor and Maidenhead, spoke following today's release of findings of an independent serious case review into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oxfordshire.
In 2013, after the two-year Operation Bullfinch investigation by Thames Valley Police, seven men were sentenced to 95 years in prison for offences including rape, trafficking and arranging or facilitating prostitution against six girls.
The review found the exploitation could have been identified earlier and that errors were made, but that many positive changes have been made by Thames Valley Police since the operation.
Supt Ford said that CSE has been a force priority for two years and they have learnt a 'great deal' from recent cases as well as from working closely with their communities.
She said: “The work that we have instigated, together with partners, should help to strengthen public confidence in our ability to prevent, identify and disrupt CSE but importantly, guard against complacency.
“At the operational level all safeguarding agencies are working closely together to identify potential victims and offer intervention and support. This activity is reviewed at the strategic level again by relevant safeguarding agencies to provide oversight and direction."
She added that across Windsor and Maidenhead, police have engaged with hoteliers, taxi drivers, and pub and club owners, as well as their own front line staff and officers to help raise awareness.
She also said police want those who come in to contact with CSE to spot the signs and urged anyone with concerns to call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Royal Borough officers have given training sessions to 78 hotel and B&B owners and about 20 landlords and a programme to revisit all hoteliers in 2015 has begun.
All 109 taxi operators have been sent letters about CSE to give out to their staff, 60 taxi drivers have been spoken to about the issue and information has been included in a newsletter to all 14,000 taxi drivers. Information about CSE is now also given out to new taxi drivers.
All Thames Valley Police's frontline staff in Windsor and Maidenhead have been given training regarding CSE and police are also working with the Royal Borough to find funding for Chelsea's Choice, a play about CSE, to go into schools.
Police are also supporting the borough to give training to teachers, doctors, nurses and social care workers in the area on the issue.
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