Thursday 1 August 2013

Child Sexual Exploitation: West Yorks Police

Yesterday afternoon as I was walking through town, I stumbled upon a group of Police Officers outside the bus station, near a large video monitor which was playing a 2min feed on a continuous loop. I stopped to speak with the Officers and tried to gather info about their plans for the campaign and to give feedback on the monotone video they had droning away in the background.

The video they were showing actually stopped at around 2m 20s rather than the full 4m 11s avail. here. This may be a good thing as the info given at the end is highly inaccurate and misleading.
Now, as regular readers will know, I have "issues" when it comes to WYP, but I tried to put these to one side as I hoped this was a chance to raise awareness.
After speaking with the Officers handling the campaign yesterday, my "issues" have grown somewhat. The attitude of some of the Officers was awful. I witnessed one in particular, who had been tasked with leaflet distribution.....
A young female walked down the concourse of the bus station, past the Officer who noticed and called after her.. "Oi..." she kept walking. "Oi..!" on she walked..... "Oi!" after five such attempts she finally decided there couldn't be anyone else so she stopped and turned. The Officer walked up to her, shoved a leaflet in her hand and walked off. No explanation about the info he had just delivered, no Please nor Thank You....
After speaking further with one of the Officers, I took a leaflet and left my details as somebody they could contact should they (and Yes, they do!!) need help, feedback or suggestions from victims as to how to approach the subject of Child Sexual Exploitation and gain some of the exposure needed.
Since then I have been in contact with the Press Office for WYP and expressed some of my concerns in regard to the Campaign itself and the Officers tasked with it. 
Among other comments I made during that conversation, I pointed out to the Press Office that women are offenders too..... but that the info they were distributing specified offenders as being male.
I hope WYP can take the suggestions on board and actually make the campaign work. I have volunteered my input along with the information I have gathered over the months/years. Let's hope WYP make use of the research and stop others suffering.

*Update: Thank You to Patrick Brooke and Andy Smith from WYP for taking the time to read my comments and this blog and your positive-sounding comments.
Below is the content of the leaflet..... 

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of child sexual abuse.  It is the organised and deliberate exploitation of a child purely for the sexual gratification of adults.
Any young person could become a victim of child sexual exploitation; the crime affects both girls and boys, from any background and of any ethnicity.
Child Sexual Exploitation PosterThere are three main types of CSE –
  1. Inappropriate relationships – this usually involves one perpetrator who has inappropriate power or control over a young person.  There is often a significant age gap and the victim may believe they are in a loving relationship.
  2. ‘Boyfriend’ model – the perpetrator befriends and grooms the young person into a ‘relationship’ and then convinces or forces them to have sex with friends or associates.  This is sometimes associated with gang activity.
  3. Organised sexual exploitation – young people are passed through networks where they are forced into sexual activity with multiple men.  This often occurs at ‘sex parties’ and the young people may be used to recruit others into the network.

Know the Signs
Even something that seems like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign that a child is being sexually exploited. 
Child Sexual Exploitation - Z-CardSome of the visible signs include:
  • Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
  • Change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn.
  • Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for.
  • Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
  • Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults
  • A significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
  • Spending excessive amount of time online and becoming increasingly secretive about time spent online
  • Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
  • Sexual health problems
If you have any concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation report it to West Yorkshire Police by calling 101 or you can callCrimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency or if a crime is ongoing always dial 999.
You can also call or email your local Police Safeguarding Unit to discuss any concerns or questions you have with one of our specialist staff on the contact details below:

Other charities and agencies that can help:
Barnardo’s – Cut them free campaign.

Yorkshire MESMAC – BLAST! 
Project works with men and boys involved in or at risk of becoming involved in sexual exploitation, aged 25 and under and living in Leeds or Bradford.
0113 2444209
National Helpline for male victims of sexual exploitation - 07808 863 662
Genesis – ISIS 
Supporting Young People Against Sexual Exploitation, Leeds
0113 243 0036

The Children’s Society in Keighley and Bradford
The Hand in Hand Project
Supporting young people involved in child sexual exploitation or who are vulnerable to grooming.
01535 606868

Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace)
Working alongside and supporting parents and carers whose children have been sexually exploited.
0113 240 3040
Barnardo’s Turnaround
Working with young people who are involved or vulnerable to CSE and who go missing from home
01274 618421
Kevin Robinson 07827322821

The Children’s Society in Calderdale
The Safe Hands Project 
Supporting young people affected by Child Sexual Exploitation across the Calderdale district.
Tel: 01422 430 495
 The Force's 'Know the Signs' campaign aims to advise everyone across West Yorkshire of the typical signs of child sexual exploitation and what they should do if they know a young person who might be a victim.
The campaign is supported by Safeguarding Boards across the five districts of West Yorkshire and takes the form of impactive posters and advice cards, social networking messages and a hard-hitting radio advert.


  1. Thank you for contacting West Yorkshire Police. We are very disappointed to hear of your experiences at the recent Roadshow. We have now received your additional feedback via email as well as your views on our campaign. We are circulating this information to senior officers involved with the Roadshows, as well as others co-ordinating our CSE work.
    As part of the team involved with running the Forcewide campaign, I can assure you we tried very hard and consulted very widely to try to get the message right to help raise awareness and help people "recognise the signs". Now we have received your additional comments, we will look to see where we can make improvements, and I will keep you posted on progress.
    I can assure you that staff and officers at West Yorkshire Police are working very hard to tackle the problem, bring offenders to justice, and help and support victims of CSE.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to look over my comments and the blog.
      I appreciate it's a difficult subject to work with, especially focused on Exploitation only.
      Case in point:

      Shows its not just male predators nor is it just teenage girls. These networks span the world regardless of sex, race or age.

      The whole blog and the links above go some way to showing the true extent of this evil.


Thanks for your time and interest