Child sexual exploitation operation: Police say staff at some Wakefield hotels failed to raise concerns

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DETECTIVES  have said they will be speaking with hotels in Wakefield district about their safeguarding following a recent undercover child protection operation.

Police will be approaching managers at some hotels after staff failed to raise concerns about possible child sexual exploitation (CSE) when undercover detectives tried to book rooms while in the company of children.

Officers attended at eight hotels across the District last week and were offered short notice rooms at five of them, despite attending with no luggage in suspicious circumstances.

On each of the visits a male officer attended with either a 14-year-old girl, or a 15-year-old boy and attempted to pay for a room in cash.

Other tactics were carried out, such as making it clear breakfast wouldn’t be needed, to try and arouse suspicion.

In total, five hotels took the booking with two declining as they did not accept cash payments.

A staff member in one hotel was uncomfortable with the situation as presented and refused to take the booking as well as noting details of the car registration of the vehicle the officer arrived in.

Detective Sergeant Phil Davis of the Wakefield District CSE and Abusive Images Team, said: “We were disappointed with the results of this recent operation and will be speaking with management at the hotels involved to see what safeguarding training we can provide for their staff.

“Efforts were made by our undercover officer to raise suspicion and it is regrettable that in the majority of cases, bookings were accepted.”

Detective Inspector Jordan Piper of Wakefield District Child Safeguarding added: “Further checks will be carried out within the district.

“We work very closely with businesses to raise awareness of CSE and grooming and we do urge companies involved in sectors where it could take place such as hotels and fast food outlets, to be vigilant.

“If those engaged in CSE bring their victims to these places, front line staff will be among the first to come directly into contact with them and can play a vital role in identifying suspects and preventing abuse from taking place.

“Police forces can only combat this vile crime with the wider support of partners and persons in our communities.”