Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner says the recent report of Rotherham Borough Council which revealed the local authority was ‘in denial’ over child sexual exploitation, should be a “crucial wake up call” to all police forces.
Adam Simmonds said he was due to launch a ‘Ten Point Pledge’ later this month that would state his commitment to the county and its children and young people as to what action Northamptonshire Police will take in tackling all forms of abuse.
He said: “We are committed to bringing the perpetrators of child abuse and exploitation to justice, because we recognise that the absence of prosecutions will fail to give victims the confidence that the justice system is on their side and that the perpetrators will be stopped.
“We are also committed, as a county, to offer long-term support to victims, with the understanding that it is not just the immediate support that victims need, but for such support to be available throughout their lifetime.
Mr Simmonds said he was utilising his position as leader in the local area to take action against child sexual exploitation by committing £1 million through the Police Precept that will be ring-fenced to help support victims of crime, including those affected by child sexual exploitation.
The commissioner is also planning to launch a major piece of research on child online safety.
He said: “We cannot simply do nothing and wait for a repeat of the shocking Rotherham events to unfold in another area. It is encouraging that the government is starting to commit to tackling child sexual exploitation, but this is just the first step.
“Words need to turn into action. Victims need to be listened to and believed. Perpetrators need to be disrupted, prosecuted, and brought to justice for their actions. Agencies need to take responsibility for protecting, safeguarding and supporting all children and young people that may be exploited.
“We need to recognise that child sexual exploitation is the rape and abuse of children; and begin to tackle it as just that and no less.”