Police chiefs are to create 100 new public protection posts for officers in South Yorkshire – while at the same time asking the public to act as their eyes and ears on the streets.
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.
South Yorkshire councils, Crown Prosecution Service, Crimestoppers and police chiefs called on taxi drivers, teachers, hoteliers and retail workers to report their suspicions.
Commissioner 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 Sheffield detective Paul Broadbent, now chairman of Crimestoppers, said: “Police and partners will do everything they possible can to prevent child sexual exploitation from happening, but when offences are committed the police will aggressively investigate and hope the CPS and courts will successfully convict.
“Offenders are parasites on society and there is no place in any modern world for anyone who preys on vulnerable children for sexual gratification.”