Police and Crime Commissioner pledges more money to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (19 Mar 2015)

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, has pledged nearly half a million pounds to pay for continued joint working to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation. (CSE)

The £440,000 is in addition to the £3.5m available to the police for increased capacity to deal with CSE, human trafficking and cyber-crime.

Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: "Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) has always been one of my top priorities as well as other safeguarding activity set out within my Police and Crime Plan, which is why I have previously brought partners together to focus and co-ordinate work on CSE and have made an extra £3.5m available to the police for increased capacity to deal with CSE, human trafficking and cyber-crime.

"That includes the additional £1.5 million investment over the next two years to pay for 30 more investigators, including former officers and experts from a child social care background with specialist knowledge of investigations and child protection issues to increase resources immediately to tackle complex cases and support victims. This priority investment was agreed as part of the budget setting for 2014/15.

"I have also recently made available £440,000 from my Partnership Executive Group innovation fund, including £385,000 to the West Yorkshire Directors of Children's Services Group, for the five districts, to pay for continued co-ordinated working across the county in relation to CSE safeguarding work.

"This includes a renewed campaign to raise awareness in schools and colleges, money for victim support roles within Children's Services departments and ensuring an information sharing programme is in place to ensure that districts are always joined up with regards supporting vulnerable young people.

"It will also pay for a Safeguarding Advisor who will make sure all five districts are co-ordinated in tackling CSE and implementing lessons learned from elsewhere.

"These extra resources follow a meeting with child protection experts from across the county which was called by me last year to discuss the recommendations from the Rotherham report by Alexis Jay on CSE and look at how we work better together going forward.

"An action plan for West Yorkshire which includes increased awareness raising, improved information sharing and intelligence gathering and ensuring all agencies are taking a more joined up approach to tackling CSE is now being implemented with safeguarding partners.

"It is all around strengthening and building on the safeguarding structures already in place throughout West Yorkshire, certainly with increased awareness because of the Savile Inquiry and Operation Yewtree which has led to increased reporting of sexually related offences as a result. I have been meeting regularly with safeguarding experts from across West Yorkshire and this also sends out a strong message around pursuing offenders of these shocking crimes that blight the lives of children in our communities.

"I want victims and witnesses, in particular those who are most vulnerable, to always come first and any young person who has been a victim or a witness of this sexual exploitation should have the confidence to come forward, trust that their voice will be heard and be justified in believing that the responsible authorities will make sure they and others are supported and kept safe.

"The launch of the Help for Victims website at www.helpforvictims.co.uk last October is also a key part of putting victims first." 

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018