Hotels failed to spot child sexual exploitation signs in Calderdale

Detective Inspector Craig Lord.
Detective Inspector Craig Lord.

A selection of hotels in Calderdale failed to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation as police launched an operation in Calderdale for venues to spot the warning signs.

As part of West Yorkshire Police’s commitment to tackling CSE, police officers and social workers from Calderdale’s CSE Hub visited a number of hotels across the district to identify whether the premises were able to recognise and knew how to act on suspected sexual exploitation and abuse.

Eleven hotels were visited in total. Every venue visited was tested in a similar way and was then subjected to a full debrief by officers and social workers who identified where there were further opportunities for training and development around awareness of CSE, but also how to raise these concerns.

Detective Inspector Craig Lord, lead for Child Sexual Exploitation in Calderdale said; “Overall the operation went really well, and I am grateful to the officers and young explorers who gave up their time to take part in this exercise.

“Some of the venues didn’t raise concerns or intervene and were given immediate feedback by police officers addressing the key areas of concern.

“We were pleased to see an increased awareness of safeguarding issues across many of the premises that were visited and will be giving further support and training to those who felt they needed it.

“Operations such as this are vitally important in helping us tackle child sexual exploitation.

“Alongside our partners, we work closely with hospitality and other industries to make sure as many people as possible have access to the necessary support and training to spot the potential signs of child sexual exploitation and that they know how to take action to safeguard children.

“This is part of our continued commitment to protecting vulnerable children, and our work with partners, businesses and the wider community to safeguard and protect our young people from harm. This operation is part of a continued programme of activity and similar operations will be run in the future.

“We all have a part to play in protecting young people from exploitation and abuse. We want everyone to know the signs of CSE and how to make a report if they have concerns.”

The operation is similar to test purchase operations run by police to test whether shops sell cigarettes or alcohol without checking for ID.

These targeted operations saw an adult man, played by a police officer, try to book a hotel room with a teenage girl, played by a police explorer.

Calderdale Council’s Director of Adult and Children’s Services, Stuart Smith said: “This was a great operation and the Police should be congratulated.

“Hotel proprietors have a duty to ensure that visitors are genuine guests and not CSE perpetrators looking for a venue to exploit young people.

“They need to know the signs and contact the authorities immediately if they are suspicious.

“It is also important for people to be aware that CSE affects both boys and girls and both men and women can be perpetrators. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.”