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PCC thanks hoteliers for working with Bedfordshire Police and councils over Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, says she hugely appreciates the time and support of those who work in Bedfordshire’s hotels to help police combat child sexual exploitation.

The comment comes after more than 20 of the county’s hotels sent staff to an event organised by Bedfordshire Police, Central Bedfordshire and Luton and Bedford Borough councils which was held, appropriately enough, at a hotel - The Chiltern in Luton - earlier this month (16 March).

“It’s so hugely appreciated by me that these hotels were prepared to release their staff, just as we go into the key Easter and Summer seasons, to learn what to look out for to keep children in this county safer,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“There are predatory adults - primarily men - who can occasionally be spotted taking much younger teenagers, who are clearly not related to them, into hotel rooms, which should set the alarm bells ringing for anybody working there,” added the PCC.

The event attended by hotel employees, from management to receptionists, aimed to increase awareness of CSE and develop their understanding of how to report any concerns they might have. Attendees heard from speakers from Bedfordshire Police and other organisations and charities such as YouTurn Futures and CYP First.

Pete Gomm, Bedfordshire Police’s CSE Co-ordinator said, “Hotels can be used as locations to meet and groom children, so it’s vital that we work with Bedfordshire’s hoteliers to ensure they are aware of the signs of CSE and know how to report any concerns. I was pleased to see so many people attend the conference, supportive of our work and our messaging and I look forward to continuing to work with other hotels in the future.”

“Across Bedfordshire we are tackling CSE together; the support, awareness and response of hoteliers is key to preventing CSE from happening within their settings. We will continue to raise awareness and safeguard children together,” said Lisa Robinson, Bedfordshire’s CSE Coordinator.

“The fact is that most law abiding members of society, who would not dream of preying on a child, might not stop to consider what is right in front of their eyes and I know, as PCC, that some adults are using hotels to groom and sexually exploit such vulnerable young people. This training was about teaching hotel front of house staff what to look out for and, crucially, how to raise those concerns for them to be checked out by Bedfordshire Police.

“I’m a mother of two myself and I would rather, by far, that someone made a mistake and asked searching questions of my husband and I in error than that either of them could have come to harm because observers were too reticent to get involved,” said the PCC.

Visit http://bedfordshireagainstcse.org/ for more information.