Five week campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation and anti-social behaviour in Dewsbury (21 Mar 2017)

Police in Kirklees are launching a five-week campaign to tackle CSE, anti-social behaviour and traffic offences in the District.

The campaign will be launched in Dewsbury on Friday 24 March and will run every Friday and Saturday until 22 April.

West Yorkshire Police are teaming up with various different organisations, and the campaign will be commencing very shortly offering reassurance to residents in Dewsbury, raise awareness of CSE and gather intelligence as well as engage with young people in the area.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involved the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

Specialist safeguarding officers, who are trained in dealing with concerns and reports of child sexual exploitation are deployed in all of the five Districts in West Yorkshire to support and give advice to young people.

Also during the operation, there will be high visibility patrols with police officers and partner agencies in and around Dewsbury town centre aiming to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

Various partner agencies including representatives from Mental Health teams, youth workers, sexual health advisors and alcohol awareness advisors will be working alongside the police to give advice and information to members of the public. Recruitment officers from the Army, Royal Engineers, the Fire service and police will also be available throughout this five-week period to give career advice to young people.

A free drop-in cafe will be opened in the youth centre under the Town Hall in Dewsbury; it will be open between 3 - 10pm on Fridays and 10am until 10pm every Saturday. The cafe is open to all members of the public.

A court fines surgery will be held within the cafe to help people who have any concerns about paying any fines; they can come and get advice and put measures in place to resolve their issues.

On the launch day of the operation, Lucas Walshaw from the Dewsbury Rams will be at the cafe between 3-5pm to advice young people about a new programme at the club.

PC Chris Birkenshaw, of Kirklees District Police, said: "This is an important operation launching in Kirklees is about educating and seeking to raise awareness about a number of issues in and around the District.

"We hope that we are able to engage with members of the public to raise awareness and also help us gain any intelligence to help identify any vulnerable children, target offenders and prevent offences taking place.

"Tackling child abuse is not something that any one agency can do in isolation, which is why we work closely with other organisations and charities to support victims, bring offenders to justice and make our communities safer.

"Protecting children and ensuring that victims are put at the heart of everything we do is a top priority for West Yorkshire Police. We have specialist safeguarding units in each of our five policing districts, which include officers dedicated to dealing with both current and historic child abuse and child sexual exploitation.

"With an increased police presence in Dewsbury, officers will be able to engage with the public and young people both at the youth centres and in the town centre itself, as well as providing help and advice such as crime prevention tips.

"We would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, whether recent or historic, to report it to the police. Please be assured that you will be listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals with experience of dealing with these kind of offences." PC Nicola Wiltshire, leading the anti-social element of the operation, said: "The aim of the operation is to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour within Dewsbury and make the town centre a better place for the community.

"We hope that the increased police presence over the coming weeks will be welcomed by the community. Our officers and representatives from partner agencies will be engaging with the public and young public in the area and will be on hand to provide help and advice as well as crime prevention tips.

"We are dedicated to making our communities safer for all and would encourage anyone to come along to any of the sessions at the drop-in centre if you have any questions or concerns."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "This is an innovative operation bringing key partners together to tackle issues at a local level to keep our communities safe and feeling safe.

"Tackling child sexual exploitation, and anti-social behaviour and ensuring our roads are safe are key elements in my Police and Crime Plan. I will be supporting West Yorkshire Police and our partners in delivering this campaign and following the results closely to see if it's something that could benefit other areas of West Yorkshire."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019