Hotel staff and guests asked to #LookCloser to ensure ‘no exploited child goes unnoticed’
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Police and The Children’s Society are working with hotels to raise awareness around child exploitation.
Officers from Northamptonshire Police and representatives from The Children’s Society and RISE (a multi-agency project aimed at reducing incidents of sexual exploitation) were in Northampton today (Friday, March 13) asking those working at hotels, and their guests, to #LookCloser for signs of children and young people being used in criminality.
Staff from a number of hotels in the county gathered to receive a tailored briefing around child exploitation, including finding out about the specific signs to spot and learn how best to prevent it.
Officers from RISE and the force’s missing person’s team are continuing with the activity by visiting hotels across Northamptonshire to give advice on how to help safeguard children at risk of criminal exploitation – and how to spot the signs which may indicate they are a victim.
Northamptonshire Police Detective Sergeant Gary Turvey, from the RISE, said: “Instances in which criminals are using hotels to groom children and young people — often for sex, but not exclusively — are on the rise. We find establishments can also be used for after-hours parties and we are working hard, through night-time crews to disrupt such gatherings.
“Our message to staff and guests is to help us identify potential victims and #LookCloser at those young people who come to their hotels. Are they with someone who is checking in during school hours or late into the night? Do you suspect the person they are with is not a parental figure? Is the young person meeting with older individuals or groups in the bar or public areas of the premises? Is alcohol being ordered for the room? Is there something not quite right about the way they are behaving — do they appear confused or afraid, or could they be under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
“If you have concerns about a young person at a hotel, call us so we can help.”
Jakub Galliford-Makuchowski, IBIS General Manager, said: “We are fully committed to working with police to ensure no exploited child goes unnoticed at our hotel. Today, we welcome input from The Children’s Society, with the aim of equipping our staff with the knowledge and tools to recognise and report such instances.”
If you think a child is being exploited, don’t wait, report it to security or call police on 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.