Hyndburn taxi drivers joined the fight against Child Sexual Exploitation after undertaking safeguarding training.
Taxi drivers licensed by Hyndburn council have been trained with support from specialist officers from Lancashire Police. The training recognises that taxi drivers have a key role to play in protecting young and vulnerable people.
It comes ahead of the National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Raising Day, on March 18 which aims to highlight the issues surrounding child sexual exploitation; encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.
The training, which is delivered by Accrington and Rossendale College with funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw and Hyndburn council, helps taxi drivers identify the signs to look out for that may indicate a young person is being sexually exploited and what they should do to report any concerns they may have.
Coun Gareth Molineux, Hyndburn council’s cabinet member for resources, said raising awareness of the issue is vitally important, so that everyone across the country knows that we all must play our part, learn how to spot the signs and speak out to stop it.
He added: “This training is all about working together to inform, educate and prevent children from being sexually abused and it has now become a mandatory requirement to undertake the CSE module as part of gaining a new taxi licence. I am really pleased that Hyndburn’s taxi drivers are wholeheartedly supporting this initiative as they are the eyes and ears of the local community and can help in the fight against child sexual exploitation.”
Taxi driver John Weeks said: “The training was very informative and will definitely assist me in playing my part to help safeguard vulnerable young people.”
Police Commissioner Clive Grunshaw added: “Tackling the sexual exploitation of children is a key priority and it’s not just a policing issue. We must all do what we can to prevent these crimes from happening and to enable people to spot the signs so they can raise the alarm if needed. The training for taxi drivers does exactly that and I am happy to give it my full support.
“Unfortunately young people do still fall victim to sexual exploitation which is why I have set up Nest Lancashire to provide support for victims of crime aged 10 to 18 years old across the county. Young people who have been affected can access specialist advice, counselling and support to help them report issues and get back on their feet.”
Coun Munsif Dad, Hyndburn council’s cabinet member for health and communities, said: “The National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Raising Day provides a timely opportunity to talk about and raise awareness of this important issue.”