Hotels and police tackle child exploitation

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Police and hoteliers are set to hold their first meeting aimed at tackling child sexual exploitation.

The Hotel Watch scheme in Cherwell will see police officers and hoteliers hold regular meetings to share information and concerns.

The hoteliers will also be added to the force’s Thames Valley Alert scheme, allowing officers to send them targeted messages.

Officers met with hotel and B&B owners on January 29 and have agreed to hold the first official meeting next Tuesday.

PC Ian Allen said: “The hoteliers used to share concerns amongst a small group, but now they will be able to share any issues with a larger group and feed it into the police.

“If they have a problem with someone not paying, someone damaging a room, or with child sexual exploitation, that information will now be shared much more widely than it was.

“That will help raise awareness for any issues that are happening within the community and mean they can be dealt with by police, which will reduce crime and the fear of crime in Cherwell.”

So far, about 15 hoteliers have signed up to the scheme, but PC Allen hopes more will attend the inaugural meeting next week.

The scheme, which will see regular meetings every six months and more frequent meetings if needed, is open to all hotel and B&B owners in Cherwell, including those in Bicester, Banbury and Kidlington.

One of the aims of Hotel Watch is to allow police to better inform hoteliers about child sexual exploitation and what to do if they suspect it is happening in their premises.

Hotel Watch has been set up in the wake of the Operation Bullfinch convictions in 2013. An east Oxford hotel was named in court as the location used by gang members to abuse teenage girls.

Hotel owners wanting to find out more about Hotel Watch can contact PC Allen at or Cherwell & West Oxfordshire Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator Deborah Hextall on or via telephone on 101.