Thames Valley Police has today (Tuesday) carried out a number of dawn raids in Banbury in relation to alleged child exploitation offences.
As a result of information gathered by the Kingfisher Team in Oxford, approximately 45 officers executed warrants at five addresses in Banbury at around 6am.
Five men from Banbury have been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences and are currently in police custody:
Those arrested include a 20-year-old man, a 19 year-old man, two 21-year-old men and an 18-year-old man.
The alleged offences relate to three female victims and took place in Banbury and surrounding areas between 2011 and 2014, when victims’ ages ranged between 13 to 16.
This is the first time multiple arrests have been made from work done by the Kingfisher Team, set up in November 2012 to tackle child sexual exploitation.
Based at Cowley police station, the team is made up of around 20 members of staff from the Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire County Council and the health sector.
They work side by side, sharing information, working closely with potential victims, investigating and detecting crime and disrupting the activities of perpetrators.
Regarding today’s arrests, Deputy LPA Commander for Cherwell and West Oxfordshire, Ch Insp Helen Roberts said: “The warrants executed today are the direct result of work by the Kingfisher team.
“Child sexual exploitation will not be tolerated in the Thames Valley and this dedicated team track offenders down to bring them to justice.
“We hope that today’s operation not only offers protection to these victims but also any others who we are encouraging to come forward.
“We will work with our partner agencies to offer them all the support they need as we carry out the investigation.
“I understand today’s events will have an impact on the local community and people will rightly be concerned about the nature of these arrests.
“Our neighbourhood policing teams are carrying out patrols in the area and will be doing their best to answer any questions, so please do not hesitate to approach them.
“If anyone has any concerns at all about offences relating to child sex exploitation, especially if they are a victim or know someone who may be, we urge them to contact Thames Valley Police on the 24-hour non-emergency number 101 and ask to speak to the Kingfisher Team.”
Jim Leivers, Director of Children, Education and Families, Oxford County Council said: “These arrests are the result of social workers, health professionals and Thames Valley Police working closely together to tackle child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire.
“The arrests relate to the abuse of very vulnerable young people who told social workers that they were being sexually exploited. They were referred to Kingfisher as soon as their suspected involvement in child sexual exploitation came to light, and we have been supporting them since then including at the time of the arrests.”
If you don’t want to speak to police and don’t want to leave your name you can contact the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111 anonymously.
No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
Alternatively, if you are worried about someone who you think may be a victim of child exploitation you can call ChildLine on 0800 11 11 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk