Police chiefs are to create 100 new posts for officers as law enforcement bodies launch a crackdown on ‘evil’ criminals sexually exploiting children in Doncaster.
Members of the public are also going to be asked to act as police’s eyes and ears on the streets as part of the intiative.
South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright announced the investment while launching a new ‘say something if you see something’ campaign to encourage people to come forward with concerns or suspicions about the sexual exploitation of children.
Doncaster Council, Crown Prosecution Service, Crimestoppers and police chiefs called on taxi drivers, teachers, hoteliers and retail workers to report their suspicions.
Mr Wright described child sexual exploitation as ‘evil’ and said: “The exploitation of children for sexual gratification is a pernicious and pervasive crime that robs our children of innocence, hope, faith and dignity.
“We must recognise that we all have a responsibility to stop such appalling crimes from happening, and I believe we can.”
Chf Con David Crompton said victims often do not realise they are being groomed and exploited and are ‘unlikely’ to report offences themselves.
But he revealed last year perpetrators were jailed for a total of 60 years for offences in South Yorkshire.
Former detective Paul Broadbent, now chairman of Crimestoppers, added “Offenders are parasites on society and there is no place in any modern world for anyone who preys on vulnerable children for sexual gratification.”
The launch comes after Mr Crompton revealed that officers spend just 25 per cent of their day investigating crime – because of pressure to mop up the workload of other agencies.
He says the police have become ‘the service of last resort’ – with incidents previously handled by other agencies now falling to them because of budget cuts.
“Contrary to popular opinion the force doesn’t deal with crime for the majority of time – less than a quarter of what we deal with is crime,” said Mr Crompton.
“Nearly half of everything relates to keeping people safe, missing people, people with mental health issues, all sorts.
“These are things other agencies are increasingly moving away from because of their own budget cuts.
“But it’s giving us extra work. And while we are spending time on these things we can’t spend as much time as we might want to on crime. Crime is the minority of our workload.”
But Mr Crompton said that, despite the force facing budget cuts of £50 million by 2018, and 500 job losses over the next 12 months, his force is still managing to reduce crime.
He said the number of offences recorded between April and January has fallen by three per cent compared to the same period the year before.