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Hotel staff empowered to fight child sexual exploitation

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Hotel staff empowered to fight child sexual exploitation

Hotel staff are being empowered to play their part in the fight against childhood sexual exploitation – by spotting the signs of abuse and taking decisive action to protect vulnerable children.

Officers from Nottinghamshire Police’s child sexual exploitation unit and Neighbourhood Policing Teams are visiting hotels across the county to make staff aware of the key warning signs of abuse, from uncomfortable looking young people to suspicious bookings and unusual activity in and around bedrooms.

Staff, who are being spoken to in person and left with informative leaflets, are being urged to follow their instincts and pay close attention to things that look or feel wrong.

By doing so they hope not only to prosecute abusers, but also to identify vulnerable young people who are urgently in need of help and support.

Detective Chief Inspector Gemma Scott said: “Sadly we know that hotels are routinely used by abusers to engage young people in illegal sexual activity. That means that hotel staff – whether they realise it or not – are actually on the front-line of efforts to keep vulnerable young people safe.

“That’s why we want them to act as our eyes and ears – to understand the warning signs, to know when something is wrong, and to have the confidence to report their suspicions to the police.

“Very often those warning signs amount to things that just don’t look or feel right. We all have instincts and when it comes to child sexual exploitation I urge people to follow those instincts.

“Things to look out for include an older man in the company of a teenage girl who is clearly not related to him and may appear uncomfortable, or somebody who lives locally but arrives with a young person wanting to book a room.

“There may be a perfectly innocent explanation, but that person may be about to commit a very serious criminal offence that will damage a young person for the rest of their lives.

“By helping hotel staff to better understand these key warning signs we are empowering them to help safeguard some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including young people in the care system.”

Nottinghamshire Police will pay particularly close attention to higher risk establishments where issues have been reported in the past.

Key warning signs for staff and others to look out for include ‘walk-in’ bookings who arrive with no ID or luggage and request a secluded room. Children, meanwhile, may seem uncomfortable; they may be under the influence of alcohol; they may not be registered guests, or may be inappropriately dressed or made up for their age.

Hotels too are being asked to look out for suspicious activity in rooms, and also to take some simple steps that may help in police investigations, including the retention of CCTV footage and refusal records, and maintaining an incident logbook.

Above all they are being asked to report suspicious behaviour to the police by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott added: “We understand that people are often reluctant to call the police and can be worried that they will be wasting our time. So let me be very clear: we want to hear from anyone who is concerned about the welfare of a child.

“You don’t need conclusive proof that anything is amiss, just a feeling that something is not right. That information may then be processed in isolation, or it may be used as part of a larger inquiry. But I can guarantee that it will not be ignored.”




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Nottinghamshire Police
Sherwood Lodge, Arnold
NG5 8PP Nottinghamshire,
United Kingdom