A detective inspector said he was ‘shocked’ by some of the examples of child sexual exploitation he had encountered in Bridlington.
Inspector Robert Cocker told a full meeting of Bridlington Town Council that child sexual exploitation in the town was a more significant problem than radicalisation.
Councillor Shelagh Finlay asked Inspector Cocker what action Humberside Police was taking in identifying radicalisation and sexual exploitation in school.
Inspector Cocker replied: “We do have a programme for radicalisation. But I would say it is very low in the area due to the demographics of the population.
“The biggest risk I would say is child sexual exploitation.
“I have been a little bit shocked with some of the things I’ve come across in terms of juvenile females hanging around with older males.”
Inspector Cocker went on to describe one case as “quite shocking,” in which a 16-year-old-girl was associating with a man “in his late twenties.”
“They are told not to co-operate with police or the authorities,” he continued.
It comes after Humberside Police gave their support to an anti child abuse campaign, spearheaded by the charity Crimestoppers.
The campaign is aimed at encouraging young people to recognise if they are being sexually exploited, to have no secrets and to tell someone. That someone can be a parent, guardian, teacher, trusted adult, police officer, or council worker.
A spokesperson for Humberside Police added: “One of the main problems in this area is young people not even knowing they are being exploited because they have been groomed by controlling, manipulative adults and they think they are in a loving relationship.
“The essence of this campaign is to break down the barrier of silence. As a community, we need to start talking openly and honestly about these issues. We need to make sure young people are informed enough to make sensible, positive lifestyle choices and stay safe.”
Humberside Police now has a dedicated Team with a number of specially trained officers specifically to deal with child sexual exploitation cases and missing people not only to support and safeguard the young people but to disrupt, investigate and convict any offenders of Child Sex Offences.