West Yorkshire Police sets up team of investigators to tackle child sexual exploitation

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West Yorkshire Police has set up a dedicated team of officers to deal with child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The unit of 30 officers, costing £1.5 million, will cover the five policing areas across the county – including Wakefield.

The investigators, made up of former police officers, will also look at human trafficking and online crime.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I want victims and witnesses, in particular those who are most vulnerable, to always come first and any young person who has been a victim or a witness of this sexual exploitation should have the confidence to come forward.

“Hiring former officers and experts from a child social care background with specialist knowledge of investigations and child protection issues is a good way to increase resources immediately.”

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said tackling CSE was the force’s “number one priority”.

He added: “This is an abhorrent crime which affects the most vulnerable in our society – protecting children and putting people at the heart of everything we do is our primary focus.

“This team of officers will be embedded across the five districts of West Yorkshire, working with the safeguarding hubs and with victims to elicit the information from them, turn that into evidence, putting their wishes and needs in the centre of the investigation.”