Derbyshire’s crime chief raises awareness of child sexual exploitation

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Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles and his Deputy Hardyal Dhindsa have tweeted ‘see and say’ messages written on their hands to mark Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day (Wednesday, March 18).

“Anyone and everyone has a part to play in raising awareness and tackling this type of crime,” said Mr Charles.

“It’s vital for the protection of children and young people that if people suspect something is amiss, they report it,” he continued. “The #HelpingHands social media pledges are a great way of reaching young people to alert them both to the warning signs and how to get help to stop it happening.”

The pair’s support for the campaign is part of their ongoing work to promote projects aimed at preventing CSE. These include the Commissioner’s co-funding of two drama productions in their tours of Derbyshire schools.

‘Chelsea’s Choice,’ based on the real-life experiences of exploited children, toured schools in the city and county for six weeks last year. It included a 45-minute question-and-answer session and discussion about CSE.

“This project was so valuable, bringing knowledge to thousands of students about the dangers of CSE and the importance of looking out for each other,” explained the Commissioner.

Earlier this year, he announced funding for Crimestoppers’ Fearless brand to run a second phase of its school performances. The drama, staged by not-for-profit drama company Stepladder, aims to educate young people about crime and how Fearless can help.

The Commissioner has also warned about the growing problem of ‘sexting.’ His joint letter written with Detective Superintendent Andy Stokes was sent to the county’s headteachers to raise awareness of the long-lasting ramifications that can arise from sending ‘indecent’ images via text and social media. “Sexting can increase the risk of victimisation, devastate an individual’s social reputation and even lead to a criminal record,” he pointed out.