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Suffolk hotel workers urged to support police in fight against child sex abuse

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 March 2018

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger says CSE is on the rise in Suffolk and across the country. Picture: ARCHANT

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger says CSE is on the rise in Suffolk and across the country. Picture: ARCHANT

Hotel staff in Suffolk will be taught how to spot signs of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in a bid to curb soaring crime rates.

A graphic from Essex Police's 'I Didn't Know' campaign. Picture: ESSEX POLICEA graphic from Essex Police's 'I Didn't Know' campaign. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Suffolk Constabulary has revealed details about the project, to be run in partnership with the Suffolk Safeguarding Children’s Board, on National CSE Awareness Day.

The force is promoting the key message of this year’s campaign: ‘think, spot and speak out against abuse’.

Hotel workers in the county will be shown how to identity the signs of CSE and human trafficking and encouraged to report any suspicious activity to police.

CSE involves children under the age of 18 being coerced or manipulated into sexual activity by someone older.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger is head of Suffolk’s protecting vulnerable people team.

He said Suffolk Constabulary, like nearly every force in England, had seen the number of reports of CSE “increase significantly” over the last five years.

“Unless we recognise the signs it is really hard to put in the right interventions and the right support,” he added. “This responsibility is on the police, on other professionals, on teachers and on parents; it is a responsibility on all of us.”

Suffolk Constabulary will take to Twitter to bring home the message using the hashtags #HelpingHands and #CESDay18.

Meanwhile, Essex Police is marking CSE by relaunching its “I didn’t know” initiative, which aims to educate parents, carers and children about the dangers of social media.

Working in partnership with Essex Safeguarding Children Board, Essex County Council and Southend and Thurrock unitary authorities, the force will be issuing advice on how to protect children from sexual exploitation online.

Information will be posted on social media using the hashtag #KnowAboutCSE.

Detective Superintendent Jason Hendy, head of investigations for Essex Police’s crime and public protection unit, said: “In over 60% of the child sexual exploitation cases we investigate, we find the victim has been targeted through social media or online. This makes the need for online safety education a priority.

“We want to reach children before they start using social media, so they’re aware of how to keep themselves safe online.”

Signs of CSE can include:

• Staying out late or periods of going missing overnight or longer;

• Older ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or relationship with a controlling adult;

• Physical injury without plausible explanation;

• Entering or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults;

• Unexplained amounts of money, expensive clothing or other items;

• Lack of engagement with education;

• Drugs or alcohol misuse;

• Self harm;

• Unusual or increased use of mobile phone and/or the internet.

Anyone with concerns about CSE can contact police on 101, or in an emergency dial 999.

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