Police roll out child sexual exploitation awareness training to hotels in Hertfordshire

Halo team delivers vital child safeguarding training to hotel staff

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 9:53 am
Updated Thursday, 18th November 2021, 9:54 am

The police team dedicated to targeting child sexual exploitation is rolling out an awareness training programme to help hotel staff spot the signs and report them.

Officers from the Halo team – Hertfordshire Police's response to child sexual exploitation – held the pilot workshop for members of staff at the Ibis hotel in Stevenage town centre on Thursday, November 11.

The team is in the process of scheduling further training dates at Ibis hotels across Hertfordshire, and they are also hoping to work with other hotel chains in the near future too.

Officers from the Halo team held the pilot workshop for members of staff at the Ibis hotel in Stevenage town centre

Detective Sergeant Katy Northway and PC Sarah Lane firstly covered the grooming process, the indicators of exploitation, how to identify the signs it could be happening inside a hotel room and how to initially support a vulnerable victim if required. Case studies and information videos also featured as part of the session.

The team then shared best practice in risk management and recording processes, detailing the information that should be gathered and passed over to police in the event that exploitation is suspected.

Hotel staff were then given an opportunity to ask questions, and they were given posters and information handbooks to refer back to.

DS Northway said: “The training was really well received and the hotel’s management team has asked us to return and provide a refresher course in six months’ time.

“We are really pleased that the Ibis team is embracing the training available to them, as it shows their commitment to helping us tackle this type of crime.

"Often it happens in plain sight – we just need to keep our eyes open.

“For those who don’t work in the safeguarding sector, it can be incredibly daunting when you are faced with the possibility that a child is being abused and you may not know how

best to approach the situation.

“That is why it’s really important for us to share best practice and guidance around how to spot, record and report any instances so we can investigate, disrupt offenders and put

support in place for victims.

“By working in partnership and sharing information, we can achieve our goal of protecting even more vulnerable children and young people from being sexually exploited in Hertfordshire."

If you work in the hotel sector and you think your teams would benefit from this training, email your contact details and some proposed dates to [email protected].

For more information about the signs to look out for, and guidance on how to report any concerns, visit Hertfordshire Police's website.