Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 1°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: Police prostitution strategy ‘could have stopped grooming rings’

09:34 09 July 2014

Alan Caton after he received his Officer of the British Empire (OBE) medal following an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Alan Caton after he received his Officer of the British Empire (OBE) medal following an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The unique approach of police in Ipswich and Suffolk to prostitution could have prevented widespread child grooming in the county similar to that which took place in Rochdale and Oxford.

shares

That was the assessment of a former senior police officer at a conference which looked at the success of Suffolk Constabulary’s strategy for dealing with prostitution.

Alan Caton OBE, who was the police lead for the strategy when it began, said that its emphasis on prevention, particularly among young people, could have stopped the development of organised child grooming rings.

“Going back to 2006 when we wrote prevention into the strategy, it was long before some of these cases,” he said.

“So we were actually targeting and identifying vulnerable young people back in 2006 whereas in the last three or four years you’ve had really significant cases across the country.”

The Ipswich and Suffolk Joint Agency Strategy was implemented in the wake of the murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2006.

It focused on clamping down on kerb-crawlers while the Make A Change multi-agency team offers women routes out of the trade and tries to prevent young vulnerable girls from becoming involved.

The Make A Change team will now be placed within Suffolk County Council’s Children and Young People’s Services to focus even more on prevention.

Mr Caton said the police didn’t know in 2006 how many youngsters were at risk of grooming in Suffolk.

However since 2007 there have been 279 referrals of children between the age of eight and 18 to the Make A Change team, including five boys in the last 12 months.

When asked if the prostitution strategy could have prevented child grooming gangs from operating in Suffolk, Mr Caton said: “I think it could have done. There have been a number of positive cases, we’ve had cases where men have gone to court and have been convicted of trafficking, certainly in my time.

“So I think the agencies have been working together to identify these, there’s been a lot of training of frontline practitioners, in policing, in care services, in social care to identify the signs that children may be being exploited.

“Are they going missing? Are they associating with older men? Are they coming back with gifts that they can’t explain? All these things are triggers if you like to give a frontline practitioner (reason to say): ‘I think I need to refer that because this child may be at harm’.

“So it’s really important that we continue that work so it doesn’t just stop, it’s ongoing all the time.”

shares

2 comments

  • Can't even get the title of what an OBE is Right ! Where do IpswichStar get their journalists ?

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  • "Could have". In other words, "we've got no evidence it DID, but we're going to make the claim anyway".

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Remnants of what is thought to be an 18th century ship found by Mark Hopkins on Thorpeness beach

Remnants of a what is thought to be a centuries-old shipwreck have resurfaced on the Suffolk coast.

The accident happened on the A12 at Chelmsford

All lanes have now reopened on the A12 at Chelmsford following an accident in which a man died this morning.

A120 closed after serious crash.

The A120 is closed in both directions at Braintree following a serious crash this evening.

A collision on East Mersea Road between a bus and a low-loader lorry which was carrying a steam engine.  Photo: Su Anderson

A bus driver who was critically injured in a crash involving a lorry carrying a 15 tonne steam engine told emergency teams to leave him and help his passengers instead.

How will you make your Valentine feel special this weekend?

A secret admirer has come clean about his feelings for a shop assistant in Ipswich - could you be the object of his affections?

The Lego exhibition at Moyses Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. One of the exhibits on show.

Lego enthusiasts in Suffolk are being pitted against one another in a ‘brick off’ competition.

The BP garage on the A134 in Sudbury has been ram raided in the early hours. Reports suggest the ATM has been removed.

Two people have been arrested and released on bail following a ram raid in Sudbury.

Most read

Fred Olsen Travel Sale

cover

Click here to view
the Fred Olsen
Travel Sale

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24