Three Oxfordshire hotels failed a test which intended to check whether they would rent a double room to a man and a 15 year-old girl.
Local councils, the police and the hotel industry are all working togvether as part of the Hotel Watch scheme, regularly meeting to discuss issues and concerns. It is believed that should hotels receive the correct training, by raising awareness with e-learning tests and courses, they would be able to prevent sexual exploitation.
It was reported by the BBC that seven hotels and guest houses in Oxford were visited by the police as part of an undercover operation called Hotel Watch, which targeted child exploitation.
Although four of the hotels refused to rent a room to the underage girl and a ‘plain-clothes’ officer, three were willing to provide the room for cash without requiring ID.
The sexual exploitation test follows Operation Bullfinch, which saw the conviction of seven men who abused girls as part of a grooming ring. Two pairs of brothers who were involved in the case have been jailed for life.
Immediately after the test, all businesses involved in the Thames Valley Police operation were debriefed.
It was revealed by a police spokesperson that no action would be taken against the hotels that failed the test but officers will be working with them and offering advice, should the situation recur.
Future tests are planned to be carried out across the Oxfordshire areas to reduce the numbers of sexual exploitation victims.
Sergeant Steve Willis, from Bicester police station, stated that the results of the operation would be used to create further training.
“This operation was a real success as we could analyse in a safe situation how the hoteliers are dealing with these situations,” he commented.
These recent cases of sexual exploitation demonstrate the need for training in this area, so that the numbers of child abuse victims are significantly reduced. One way to train staff is to use e-learning as this can be rolled out quickly and efficiently. Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. We offer large portfolio of over 40 safeguarding and child protection courses that have been enjoyed by 350,000 learners. For more information, please visit: https://www.virtual-college.co.uk/courses/safeguarding