Lancashire

Campaign aims to reduce child sexual exploitation in Preston

An advertising campaign has been launched in Preston to help prevent and detect offences of child sexual exploitation.

The campaign, which will see adverts displayed in bus shelters around the city, highlights grooming methods used by adults.

Police hope that by making people aware of the problem they can prevent and detect offences more quickly.

Det Insp Paul Burnside said it "is an issue which needs to be tackled".

The campaign has been launched by Preston's Deter Partnership Team - a group of specialists from the police, social workers and charities - set up to deal with grooming and child sexual exploitation offences.

Det Insp Burnside said: "Sexual exploitation is child abuse. The children and young people, who are drawn into exploitive situations, face huge risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health. These are the reasons why we are working with local communities to reduce offences, as well as providing early intervention to protect children."

He said members of the public who might witness "suspicious behaviour" were encouraged to contact the police.

"They may see things like young girls hanging around with men, being offered alcohol or drugs or getting into cars with them and we are encouraging them to get in touch with the Deter Team, if they are at all suspicious," he said.

"We prefer to know about these things so that we can check and find out whether it is innocent or whether the girls are being groomed and are at risk of harm."

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