Undercover police assess hotel staff’s ability at spotting child sexual exploitation

Undercover police have been testing hotel staff’s success at spotting the potential sexual exploitation of children.

Officers have over the past week attempted to check into rooms in London accompanied by young cadets while brandishing bottles of alcohol, refusing to show identification and paying in cash.

Scotland Yard hoped staff would spot the red flags and contact police over the growing problem.

Many of the venues had been given training under Operation Makesafe, which educates workers on how to spot exploitation.

The Metropolitan Police describe child sexual exploitation (CSE) as a form of abuse characterised by children being deceived or manipulated into sexual activity.

Officers say youths are often plied with drugs, alcohol, money or gifts.

Statistics show that in the past three years, CSE-related offences have nearly doubled in London, from 602 to 1,107.

NSPCC head of tackling sexual abuse Jon Brown said: “Exercises like this are vital if we are to lift the lid on child sexual exploitation and better protect children and young people.”

The Met did not say how many venues spotted the signs of exploitation in the tests.

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