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Hotel staff tested on awareness of child sexual exploitation

The City of London Police has taken part in a London-wide operation to test the responses of hotel staff to child sexual exploitation (CSE).

A total of 11 hotels in the Square Mile were tested over two nights (Friday 5 – Saturday 6 October 2018) to see if they had appropriate procedures in place to challenge people they suspected may be attempting to book hotel rooms to commit CSE offences.

Venues were visited by plain-clothed officers in the company of young police cadets. Attempts were made by the officer to book a room. The hope was that staff working on reception at the venue would recognise the warning signs, refuse to rent out the room, and contact police.

Out of the hotels tested in the City, six passed the test and responded appropriately. Several
other premises were tested by the Metropolitan Police across the rest of the capital.

On Friday, City of London Police officers tested five hotels. Although none called police, four refused the booking and said afterwards they had concerns. The fifth was going to allow the booking, and has been classed as failure. 

The following day officers tested a further six hotels, two of which dialled 999 and passed. The remaining four indicated they would have accepted the booking, although later admitted to police they had concerns. 

 
All hotels involved in the operation were provided immediate feedback by officers and given literature about Operation Makesafe – an initiative that highlights the responsibilities of the community to report any concerns of CSE.

Operation Makesafe raises awareness within the hospitality, transport and licensed premises trades around the possible warning signs to look out for when coming into contact with young people they believe may be at risk of sexual exploitation, and what information to give when they call police to report.

Additional hotels, not involved in the operation this time, will be invited to attend learning events around CSE and vulnerability in the coming months. Further information on CSE can be found on our website.

Detective Inspector Anna Rice of the City of London Police’s Public Protection Unit said:

"We all have a role to play in keeping children and young people safe from sexual exploitation. We are pleased that many hotels identified and recognised the concerns but we intend to take this further to give them the confidence to call police so we can intervene and safeguard all children.

“This is not an operation designed to catch people out or blame these venues. We want to encourage awareness and help hotel staff learn how to protect and safeguard those who may be at risk.

“This operation allowed us to engage with staff in a number of hotels in the City and advise them on what procedures they should have in place to challenge bookings which they feel uneasy and suspicious about. We would always encourage people to trust their instincts and get in contact with the police at the first available opportunity if they have any concerns.”

If you have any concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation, you can report it by calling 101. Alternatively you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website. In an emergency, or if a crime is ongoing, always dial 999.

City of London Police are planning events for hotels in the coming months focusing on training and awareness of CSE and vulnerability issues. To register your interest or obtain further information on Operation Makesafe, please email publicprotectionunit@cityoflondon.police.uk.


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