The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is to research ways to reduce the risk of “on-street” grooming and sexual exploitation of young people.
The team, comprising CEOP staff and independent experts, will study patterns of offending, victimisation and vulnerability.
It will also consider the effectiveness of processes that might help to identify offenders and victims.
Findings are expected to be published within three to six months.
“We need to continue to build our understanding about the different types of threats faced by children across a range of environments,” said CEOP chief executive Peter Davies, who commissioned the study.
“Child sexual exploitation is not exclusive to any single culture, community, race or religion – it cuts across all communities. Neither can it be simplified along ethnic lines where the victims constitute one ethnicity and offenders another.
He said recent events had prompted him to commission the study.
“These include the allocation to CEOP of national responsibility for missing children; the recent conviction and sentencing of offenders from Operation Retriever in Derbyshire; and legitimate public concern over the implications of these cases and how we can learn from them in a way that enables everyone – government, agencies, practitioners, communities – to protect and safeguard children and young people more effectively.”
A CEOP spokesperson confirmed there would be no extra money or resources for this work.
The announcement follows nine arrests by Greater Manchester Police in Rochdale this week as part of an investigation into sexual exploitation.
Meanwhile, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is implementing a child protection delivery plan to help police work with agencies to better protect children and young people.
A police national database is also being developed to help agencies identify, assess, manage and eliminate risk.
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