Complex Safeguarding Team in Rochdale takes to the streets to disrupt exploitation of children
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The message was clear from the Complex Safeguarding Team in Rochdale last week – they WILL disrupt the activities of individuals looking to exploit children for criminal and sexual purposes (CCE -Child Criminal Exploitation/CSE - Child Sexual Exploitation).
The Sunrise Complex Safeguarding Team – Rochdale’s multi-agency response to child exploitation – took to the streets of Rochdale on Thursday, as part of Operation Vigilant. The objective of Operation Vigilant is to target areas and visit premises around Rochdale, and act on intelligence that has been received from concerned citizens, who have used GMP’s 101 phone service.
The Sunrise Team comprises of police, health and children’s services, and are regularly joined by trading standards. Team members were out on patrol, visiting areas where young people spend their time, engaging with them and letting them know how the team are able to support them.
DI Stuart Round of Rochdale police and the police lead of the Sunrise Complex Safeguarding Team, said: “Operation Vigilant is a fantastic initiative and is a really good opportunity for us to get out on the streets and engage with adults and children.
“Vape shops are of specific concern at the moment, as they are a gateway to child exploitation. Not only are there potential serious health risks from vaping but children are being asked to sell vapes on, which can lead to them being coerced into selling illegal drugs.
“Intelligence also suggests that children are being encouraged to hang around certain premises and are being given food, cannabis and alcohol.
“This cannot carry on. Operation Vigilant – which runs every month – sees increased, high visibility patrols on the streets of Rochdale, who visit premises and areas of concern, to proactively disrupt activities whilst also engaging young people regarding exploitation. We are looking to build relationships and ensure they know where they can access support.”
Following the afternoon/night of action, £3000 worth of illegal vapes was seized by trading standards, as well as £1200 worth of nitrous oxide cannisters and £600 fake Viagra tablets. Three stop searches were carried out, all yielding positive results, and there was a weapon sweep conducted in local parks/wooded areas.
Could you spot a child who is at risk of CSE or CCE?
Spot the signs of child exploitation: changes in behaviour; not coming home when they say they will or going missing; changes in appearance; reluctant to talk about friends/relationships and becoming secretive; struggling to engage in school; overly protective of their messages/social media; having more than one phone; accompanied by individuals older than them; concerns surrounding the use of alcohol or drugs; sudden changes/fear of people/friends; unexplained gifts or money; sexual discussions/language which is not usual; evidence of sexual images being shared (by themselves or by others)
If something doesn’t feel right – report it.
Greater Manchester Police can be contacted via gmp.police.uk or by dialling 101. You can also share information anonymously via the independent charity – Crimestoppers – on 0800 555 111.
If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police, or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.
- Saint Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
- Greater Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email [email protected]
- Survivors Manchester provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.
Operation Vigilant multi-agency Sunrise team briefing
DI Stuart Round, police lead of the Sunrise Team, pictured with Sgt Jess Bryant