Four Child Exploitation Arrests In Portsmouth
10 October 2018, 17:33 | Updated: 10 October 2018, 17:38
Four people have been arrested in Portsmouth as part of an investigation into children being exploited to sell drugs.
Hampshire police searched addresses in Paulsgrove and Fratton on October 9.
Officers arrested one man and three teenage boys and seized a quantity of Class A and Class B drugs, as well as an imitation firearm and more than £2,000 in cash.
Those arrested were:
- A 22-year-old man from Portsmouth who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic children under the Modern Slavery Act and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
- A 15 year-old boy and two 16-year-old boys from Portsmouth who were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs
They have all been released from custody but remain under investigation.
Detective Inspector Ross Toms said: "Operations like the one carried out yesterday are only possible by working with communities and our partners.
"We can take action but we need information to build up a picture of what is happening and identify the risks to young people.
"I would encourage all parents, teachers, carers, and others who live or work with young people to be aware of the signs that a child could be being exploited and contact us or one of our partners, such as Portsmouth City Council.
"Our priority is to keep young or vulnerable people safe. Child criminal exploitation can be complex and it's important that our partnership response looks beyond the criminality we initially identify to ensure we protect those involved with the most appropriate outcome.
"Our message to those individuals exploiting young people is simple. If you choose to use children to supply drugs or exploit them for criminal purposes we will investigate you to pursue a conviction wherever possible".