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Police Commissioner: North Yorkshire Schools Need More Help to Spot Child Sex Abuse

Julia Mulligan

6:21pm 15th October 2014

North Yorkshire's schools need more help to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation according the county's Police Commissioner Julia Mulligan.

It comes after she ordered a "health check" report to make sure systems for protecting vulnerable children are working properly after the Rotherham abuse scandal.

Julia Mulligan says she is reassured and that the public in North Yorkshire can be reassured systems here are working well.

But the Police Commissioner has identified areas where she feels more can be done, and tells Minster FM her first priority is for schools to get more help to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

Julia Mulligan has also raised concerns the number of recommendations and reports on this issue at a national level could be taking up too much time of detectives in charge of investigating child sexual exploitation. Chief Constable Dave Jones raised similar concerns with Minster FM last week.

Other points included making young people more aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation and telling them how to report their concerns as well as how to deal with online abuse.

Giving her overall reaction to the report, Julia Mulligan said in a statement:

“This health check is a formal way for me to ensure the Chief Constable has the right arrangements in place locally and regionally to deal with Child Sexual Exploitation.  Protecting vulnerable people is my number one priority and today’s report has reassured me that officers in North Yorkshire are acting appropriately, and that good working practices are in place with our partners which have been there for a number of years.”

There are always ways to improve, and this report has highlighted a number of areas.  In particular, I feel more needs to be done to prevent CSE and highlight the risks to parents, children, schools and school governors.  In addition, the complexities of knowing which children are at risk and ensuring they are proactively identified is challenging and needs further consideration and coordination.”

Chief Constable Dave Jones added:

“I am pleased that the Commissioner has received the reassurance that she sought from the health check and in turn this should further reassure the public.

“The investment North Yorkshire Police has made in recent years into our Protecting Vulnerable People Units through services such as the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, the Central Referral Unit and increased numbers of specialist officers is clearly justified.

“Protecting the most vulnerable within our communities whilst pursuing those who exploit children is something we can never become complacent about.

“I am confident that the introduction of a cyber crime unit will further enhance our capacity to target people who use the internet to prey on children.”

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