Hotels across London are being visited by police this week, as part of a role-playing exercise to ensure staff know what action to take if they suspect a guest is booking a room for the purposes of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
To ensure CSE awareness and vigilance remains high at the capital’s hotels following a similar large-scale operation run by the Met last October, plain-clothes officers have been making unannounced visits to hotels in the company of young people (volunteer police cadets), and attempting to book a room in circumstances which hotel staff should recognise as indicators that child sexual exploitation might be taking place, resulting in them raising the alarm and contacting police.
Around 100 officers from across the Met and 30 cadets are taking part in the 10-day operation which started on Friday, 15 March and will continue throughout this week across London. Visits to around 100 hotels are planned.
Many of the venues being attended have previously received training under Operation Makesafe, an awareness campaign and training resources developed by the Met which gives guidance to business proprietors around how to spot the signs of CSE, and what action they should take.
The operation is running in the wake of National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day, marked across the country by police forces and other child safeguarding agencies on Monday, 18 March.