Crackdown on paedophiles and child sex abusers in Islington

Islington Police have launched a crackdown on child sexual exploitation

Islington Police have launched a crackdown on child sexual exploitation - Credit: Archant

New scheme highlights telltale signs of those who prey on youngsters for sex

Paedophiles who prey on young people for sex are the target of a new crackdown.

On Wednesday, police launched a new initiative with Islington Council calling on the public to help identify victims and perpetrators of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The operation, dubbed Makesafe, will provide special awareness training for taxi drivers and people working in hotels and pubs to look out for CSE warning signs when coming into contact with young people.

Det Sup Stuart Ryan said: “A common feature of CSE is that the child or young person does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and do not see themselves as a victim of sexual exploitation. As a result they are unlikely to report the abuse, meaning the issue remains seriously under reported.

“It is therefore essential that not only police and partners, but also the wider community, are alert to the warning signs. CSE is a hidden crime and this initiative will help us raise awareness within a vital group - those who witness all manner of scenarios on a daily basis.

“We all have a responsibility to keep our children and young people safe from harm and getting the local business sector on board will assist in the prevention, detection and safeguarding of those at risk.

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“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 assistance of the public; calling in any concerns which could provide officers with the opportunity to intervene before any harm comes occurs.”

Those working in the hospitality, transport and pub trades will be asked to look out for the potential ominous signals (see box), and report concerns to a dedicated hotline manned by police call-handlers.

In December, the Gazette revealed reports of child sex abuse had rocketed 40 per cent during the year,

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.

Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s, said: “We work with children and young people affected by child sexual exploitation across London and sees first-hand the devastating impact this crime can have on victims.

“There are children across the city right now who are in danger of being sexually exploited, and anyone who works in the capital’s hotels, pubs, bars and taxi trade can play a vital role in identifying young people who may be at risk.

“By learning to look out for the warning signs, you can help us to protect the most vulnerable.”