Crimes relating to child grooming have more than tripled in just five years
FROM taxi drivers to fast food workers and bouncers – these are the ordinary people part of the new front line against child grooming.
These everyday heroes are the ones able to notice the tell-tale signs of the insidious underbelly of child sex exploitation, making all the difference to the most vulnerable in society.
More and more members of the public are now being trained how to notice the red flags of a child being groomed – with thousands turning to organisations like the Safeguarding Children eAcademy.
There, members of the public are learning how to identify child abuse through signs like increasing and secretive use of mobile phones, unusual interactions with adults or shyness.
Spokesman Alex Bateman said it was mostly about noticing something that didn’t seem “quite right”, saying: “It’s just about wondering ‘why’?”
Have you helped catch a paedo? Contact the Sun Online on 0207 782 4368 or email@example.com
He told The Sun Online: “Taxi drivers, anyone in the night time economy like bouncers, people working in the fast food industry – they are the ones who might see a younger child hanging around the city centre at night.
“They can wonder why, and think it’s a bit strange and act.”
The influx of everyday people – whose indirect actions are different to the extreme measures are different to vigilante paedophile hunter groups – able to notice the warning signs comes as sexual grooming charges almost tripled in the past five years.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 309 sexual grooming offences were recorded between April 2010 and March 2011 – while 1,122 sexual grooming offences were recorded between October 2015 to September 2016.
kim tests the west
North Korea is ‘preparing to carry out nuclear bomb test in a tunnel’ to mark ‘Day of the Sun’ celebrating birth of nation’s founding father
Ex-MI6 chief accuses Donald Trump of secretly borrowing from Russia to keep his property empire afloat
‘i’m african, you’ll never take my life’
Shocking moment thug brandishing a huge knife storms London bus before being wrestled by have-a-go hero who saves the day
Loud explosions heard on Syria-Lebanese border spark reports Israel has bombed Hezbollah fighters
KIM’S FATE SEALED
Elite US Navy Seal squad that killed Bin Laden ‘is training up in South Korea to take out Kim Jong-un’
‘NO ONE WILL BELIEVE ME’
Tragic first words of daughter held captive and raped for 24 years by evil dad Josef Fritzl
Peru Two drugs mule Michaella McCollum spotted in pink swimsuit on Ibiza beach holiday
FAKE THE HIGH ROAD
Brazen OAP motorist drove without a licence for 45 years before cops caught her using a fake as she cruised round in Mercedes
AIR DOC TO SUE
United Airlines doctor dragged off flight launches hires two sets of lawyers as he legal bid to save video evidence
shamesless KILLER driver CAGEd
Callous boyfriend who killed five-year-old in coked-up car crash is pictured at tragic lad’s grave on day he married boy’s mum
Could World War 3 really happen? How chemical warfare and nuclear weapons could lead to the Apocalypse
‘it was raining ash’
Residents showered in thick ash as five petrol tankers explode causing huge blaze at Essex depot
Funny how the Legal Aid lot are always there for the terrorists but NEVER for the victims
‘CHILD ABUSE MOB’
27 men and two women appear in court charged with horrific crimes against 18 girls as young as 11 including rape, trafficking and neglect
‘YOU SPANISH B*******, GIBRALTAR IS OURS’
Rowdy Leicester fans taunt Spanish rivals in Madrid as they clash with cops ahead of Champions League match
Authorities are even “testing” those at the frontline, with Thames Valley Police recently conducting checks across north Oxfordshire, with a plain clothes police officer visiting 20 hotels and guest houses with a 15-year-old girl.
Nine of the establishments failed the test and were willing to rent a room to the pair without checking the identification of either the girl or covert police officer.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman told The Sun Online: “It was pleasing to see that some hotel staff asked probing questions to our covert police officer and the girl, and then subsequently reported their concerns to the police.
“This is exactly what we want to see and they have set the benchmark that we want some of the others to now reach.
“The hotel and guest house training has resulted in a number of operations where potential child sexual exploitation has been disrupted after the premise called the police following concerns.”
The ability of authorities to step in has this month increased, with online grooming becoming illegal in England and Wales after a two year delay.
The law had previously been introduced but was not yet able to be enforced – with this finally changing on April 3.
Previously, police officers were powerless to act to arrest groomers until the alleged perpetrator met a child or sexually abused them.
Is a child being exploited? Here are the warning signs
– Staying out all night or regularly missing from home or school
– Change in behaviour ie. becoming aggressive or disruptive or quiet and withdrawn
– Unexplained gifts
– Increased and secretive use of mobile phone
– Spending excissive amounts of time online
– Sexual health problems
– Change in physical appearance
NWG Network‘s response unit operational lead Phil Ashford told The Sun Online that more could be done on behalf of the public – saying child sex exploitation needed to be treated as a public health issue like wearing seatbelts in cars.
He said: “We have all got a responsibility to report something that doesn’t feel right.
“You can never get into trouble to report something – police call it a good intention call.
“If it turns out not to be sinister, that’s fine. But the consequences of not reporting it can be quite catastrophic.”
A dad recently revealed he wanted more supports for hotel workers to challenge suspected paedophiles after he was incorrectly challenged by a Travelodge worker while renting a room with his daughter.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368