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Hampshire Police are holding a seminar today (Tuesday, April 24) on how to better protect children from sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Police officers and staff from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are meeting at Netley to hear from experts in the field of child protection.
The seminar has been organised by Detective Inspector John Geden from the Public Protection Department.
He said, “Everyone in Hampshire Constabulary is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities from those who would cause them harm.
“The force has invested significantly into a modern and well-resourced Public Protection Department and we aim to be at the cutting edge of challenging and confronting child exploitation in all its forms.
“Education, both of our communities and our own staff, is key and today’s seminar is about sharing expertise across the whole organisation as one team.”
The seminar is being opened by Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde and will hear from guest speakers from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre as well as the national working group and colleagues from other police forces who have led recent high-profile investigations.
DI Geden continued: “The ways in which criminals exploit children have changed significantly over the last few years. We often consider trafficked victims as those brought into the UK to be sexually exploited or forced into labour. However it’s a crime that also affects children and adults here in our own country.
“In November last year the government produced its Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation plan for all agencies involved in safeguarding children. As a police force it’s important we stay up-to-date with how to best respond and ensure that all our officers know how to identify those most at risk.
“For example, the children who may be regarded as a constant nuisance, perhaps once labelled as a persistent missing person or young, streetwise runaway, are in fact most likely to be the most vulnerable to this type of crime.”
If you have concerns about someone you suspect is abusing or exploiting children, or a child you believe is at risk, call police on 101.