A leading police officer for Cherwell and West Oxfordshire has said officers in the area have been working hard ‘everyday’ to tackle child sexual exploitation (CSE) following Operation Bullfinch.
Superintendent Kath Lowe is LPA Commander and spoke after the findings of an independent serious case review into CSE in Oxfordshire was released today (Tuesday).
She said: “Tackling CSE is not only a priority for the Force, but it is a priority for me personally.
“Everyday we are working in many ways to identify and tackle CSE. This activity may involve high-level strategic meetings, officers and PCSOs on the ground, or working with partners such as the Kingfisher team and local councils.
“On top of the daily work speaking to local residents and partner organisations, we are going into schools, visiting youth centres, and patrolling in parks and other areas where children get together.”
Cherwell and West Oxfordshire officers have visited primary school 198 times since Operation Bullfinch, speaking to 8,000 pupils about CSE. They have also visited the districts’ secondary schools at least 23 times, speaking about CSE to about 24,600 students.
Officers have also carried out more than 200 one-on-one sessions with potentially vulnerable secondary school students, and provided CSE training to youth clubs, children’s homes, street pastors and Banbury Town Council’s park rangers.
The rangers have been given local link radios to report incidents.
Hotelwatch has also been set up in the two districts, and see regular meetings and information sharing between the Force and hotel and B&B owners.
Supt Lowe added: “We know CSE can take place in hotels and B&Bs, so we hope that by working with the management of such places we will improve information sharing between ourselves and hoteliers and they will be able to help us prevent and deal with CSE.
“Most importantly, all this work has resulted in victims of abuse, current and historic, coming forward and offenders being caught.
“We hope that this encourages other victims to come forward, so that we can protect them and others and tackle this terrible crime effectively.”