|Jacobean Manor, Staffordshire|
Staffordshire is a mainly rural county in northern England. It has a population under 1 million.
“It’s important to note that almost half of these cases are historic and require thorough, complex investigations to trace witnesses and secure evidence.
“Our utmost priority is treating each victim as an individual, providing them with support and keeping them updated on the progress of the investigation.
“We cannot measure protecting children and the vulnerable by the number of arrests and prosecutions, the issue is much more complex.”
Predators targeting children and teenagers through the internet have also become an emerging threat for police.
Since February last year 65 investigations have been launched in Staffordshire specifically into reports of online child sexual exploitation including grooming and sharing indecent images.
Arrests have been made in every one of the cases.
Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake said: “The immediate thought is that the internet is almost a lawless space, but the message is clear.
“If you groom children or share indecent images you commit an offence and you are on borrowed time so pack it in.
“Sixty five people were arrested and there will be many more.”
That's what I want to hear, attitude!
In the last two years reports for rape and serious sex offences regarding victims of all ages have increased in Staffordshire. There is an average of about 40 new rape cases a month compared to less than 30 in January 2012 and about 70 reports of serious sex offences now compared to less than 40 two years ago.
Police chiefs have said high profile arrests and convictions have ‘empowered’ victims and removed the ‘culture of silence’.
The force in Staffordshire has also trained more than 300 staff in detecting signs of sexual abuse in children.
Supt Martin said: “Every day colleagues across Staffordshire review intelligence and reports to identify young people at risk of exploitation and the first priority is to safeguard them from harm.
“This regularly means taking action before exploitation can take place.
“We are keen to understand more about the statistics about CSE, however, every incident is assessed for it’s threat of harm and the response is based on each specific risks to the victim.”
He added: “Everyone, teachers, GPs, parents and other adults have a responsibility to spot the signs of abuse and act.”
Cudos to Staffordshire Police. I can't tell you how encouraging it is to see at least one police force taking child sex abuse as seriously as it ought. Bless you!