More and more children are being safeguarded in Stoke-on-Trent as part of a city council initiative to prevent child abuse.
A report to the council said that since July 2015, 149 people were arrested of suspicion of offences to do with child sexual exploitation in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and 41 voluntary interviews were conducted where an arrest was not required.
A total of 172 warrants have been issued to people regarding child abuse and 218 children were safeguarded.
And 122 people were charged with 538 charges concerning child abuse.
During a meeting of the city council’s scrutiny panel meeting, the figures presented showed a 24% decrease in the number of people reporting concerns of a child who may be being sexually exploited.
Mark Warr, assistant director of early intervention and children social care, said during the meeting: “It doesn’t matter if that child is from Dorset, if that child is at risk we will help.
“The most vulnerable receive help from dedicated police officers.
“Professionals are referring in for the right reasons.”
Between April and March of 2016/17 there were 343 individual contacts made to the council from people that had concerns over a child presenting issues of child sexual exploitation.
Of those, 310 were individual children, meaning multiple calls were made about siblings.
During December of 2016 there were four reported cases of child abduction issued in Stoke-on-Trent out of a total 16 between April and March of 2016-17.
Mark Warr explained during the meeting that these notices do not mean the child has been abducted but set down a ‘marker’ as a deterrent.
Speaking after the meeting Amanda Owen, strategic manager for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “The number of children identified as being at risk of child sexual exploitation has increased due to better awareness by both parents, professionals and communities.
“There was an extensive joint investigation that saw numbers referred increase last year.
“Child sexual exploitation is a significant safeguarding issue nationally and the local authority and its partners in Stoke-on-Trent continue to make tackling CSE a priority.”