Child sex exploitation cases decline

Concerns over child sexual exploitation in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale fell over a two-year period between 2012 and 2014 – but police in the area still want to highlight the problem.
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The figures, released by Lancashire Police, relate to the number of referrals in the old Pennine Policing Division, where concern was expressed of potential child sexual exploitation.

CSE Awareness Day took place on Wednesday when Lancashire Police used the day to undertake educational activity including speaking to youngsters and teachers in schools to inform them of the dangers, warning signs and to increase knowledge among teenagers about sexual exploitation.

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The number of referrals in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale fell from 87 in April to June 2012 to January to March 2014.

There was a spike in the number of referrals – 88 from April to June 2013, but the figure has dropped significantly since then.

Head of Lancashire’s Public Protection Unit Det. Supt Sue Cawley said: “We used the day to raise awareness of this issue which sees young people being forced or manipulated into sexual activity.

“CSE can affect young people from all social and ethnic backgrounds. In the same way, offenders come from many different backgrounds - but they all have one thing in common. They are abusing young people and are using their status or position to exploit vulnerable victims.”

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Pennine Division merged with Eastern Division, which covered Blackburn and the Ribble Valley, last year.

Since the merger of the two divisions, there have been 1,013 referals to date.

The Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, added: “The fact that our officers continue to get so many referrals across the county is a positive sign that our campaign of raising awareness is working.”