Police officers in Coventry investigating reports of child sexual exploitation (CSE), have this morning (Wednesday 12 November) arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of rape and supplying drugs.
Officers from the forceâ€™s Public Protection Unit, together with local officers, executed a warrant at an address in Wellington Street, Hillfields at 6am this morning; the man has been taken to a police station in Coventry for questioning.
A second man, aged 24, was arrested from the address on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
The arrest is part of an on-going investigation into CSE and it is expected further arrests will follow.
DCI Dean Young from Coventry PPU said: “Todayâ€™s arrest follows excellent work by local police officers and partners in Coventry to identify and target those suspected of being involved with CSE. I would like to reassure the community that the investigation continues and further arrests will follow.”
He added: “Child sexual exploitation affects all communities and it remains a top priority for us – nothing is more important in policing than protecting vulnerable people.”
CSE is a form of child abuse where victims are given commodities such as food, money, drugs, alcohol, gifts or affection in exchange for sexual activity with the abuser. Vulnerable young people are often targeted by offenders who then use physical, financial or emotional power to sexually abuse them.
The force has recently expanded its public protection unit and now has an extra 275 officers, which equates to 10 per cent of the forceâ€™s strength, bolstering existing resources. There are also local CSE co-ordinators across the force area and an enhanced central CSE investigation team, dedicated on line CSE team and more extensive child abuse investigation teams.
DCI Young added: “The public protection unit is at the forefront of protecting vulnerable children across the force but we recognise that this is the responsibility of every police officer, staff, PCSO and special constable.
“Since this time extensive work has been done to train officers across the force in identifying and dealing with CSE so we can gain as much intelligence as possible and thereby improving the outcomes for victims.
“We know that CSE affects all communities whether this is people that are being abused by family members in their own home, online or they are being groomed away from their home. We cannot do this work alone which is why we work with our key partners to look at how we can best tackle this together. This includes linking in with local youth centres and hotels in the area so they understand they have a role to play in safeguarding.”
A regional campaign âˆ’ See Me Hear Me (www.seeme-hearme.org.uk) – launched in June this year and has seen all agencies responsible for tackling child sexual exploitation working to common standards of reporting and investigation.
For further information, advice and support visit this dedicated section of the West Midlands Police website:www.west-midlands.police.uk/childsexualexploitation