Hertfordshire Police is rolling out child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness training programme to hotels in Hertfordshire.
The workshops focus on identifying the signs of CSE, how to spot them and how to report them. The training programme aims to help police and partners protect more vulnerable children at risk of exploitation.
The police team dedicated to targeting child sexual exploitation, Halo, is rolling out an awareness training programme to help hotel staff spot the signs and report them. They held a pilot workshop for members of staff at the Ibis hotel in Stevenage town centre on Thursday, November 11.
Detective Sergeant Katy Northway and PC Sarah Lane firstly covered the grooming process, the indicators of exploitation, how to identify the signs it could be happening inside a hotel room and how to initially support a vulnerable victim if required. Case studies and information videos also featured as part of the session.
The team then shared best practice in risk management and recording processes, detailing the information that should be gathered and passed over to police in the event that exploitation is suspected. Hotel staff were then given an opportunity to ask questions, and they were given posters and information handbooks to refer back to.
DS Northway said: “The training was really well received and the hotel’s management team has asked us to return and provide a refresher course in six months’ time.
“We are really pleased that the Ibis team is embracing the training available to them, as it shows their commitment to helping us tackle this type of crime. Often it happens in plain sight – we just need to keep our eyes open.
“For those who don’t work in the safeguarding sector, it can be incredibly daunting when you are faced with the possibility that a child is being abused and you may not know how best to approach the situation.
“That is why it’s really important for us to share best practice and guidance around how to spot, record and report any instances so we can investigate, disrupt offenders and put support in place for victims.
“By working in partnership and sharing information, we can achieve our goal of protecting even more vulnerable children and young people from being sexually exploited in Hertfordshire.”
The team is in the process of scheduling further training dates at Ibis hotels across the county, and they’re also hoping to work with other hotel chains in the near future too.
If you work in the hotel sector and you think your teams would benefit from this training, email your contact details and some proposed dates to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the signs to look out for, and guidance on how to report any concerns, visit Hertfordshire Constabulary’s website.