Lancashire

Bid to reduce child sexual exploitation in Preston

Hoteliers and door staff are to work with the police on a project aimed at reducing child sexual exploitation in Preston.

Staff will be asked to look out for signs that girls are being targeted by older men at their venues.

Lancashire Police said it would then give advice to help prevent offences taking place.

The scheme was launched at a workshop attended by about 50 representatives from the city's hotels, clubs and bars.

The hotel that hosted the workshop - The Legacy Preston International Hotel - is already working alongside Deter, the multi-agency team in Preston which is tackling child sex exploitation.

'Potential grooming'

Det Sgt Paul Burnside, from the team, said: "Sexual exploitation is child abuse and children and young people who become involved face huge risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health so we are committed to working with local communities to reduce offences.

"That includes local businesses and in particular hotels because we know from experience that some of these offences are committed in hotels as opposed to private addresses.

"Likewise, door staff may notice young girls hanging around outside venues with older men, or getting into cars, which may at first look innocent but which could be potential grooming.

"We hope that by making hoteliers and door staff aware of the problem, the signs to look out for, and what action they should take, we can prevent and detect offences at the very earliest opportunity."

Phil Dunn, general manager at The Legacy Preston International Hotel, said: "It is of paramount importance that people in Preston do all they can to alert the necessary authorities as soon as possible to prevent serious crimes occurring in the city.

"We are urging all other hoteliers and door staff in Preston to join us in backing the Deter team project and together we can help make the city we all love safe for everyone."

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