Crack down on Hackney’s paedophiles and pimps

Stoke Newington police station, Stoke Newington Road.

Stoke Newington police station, Stoke Newington Road. - Credit: Archant

Paedophiles and pimps are being targeted in a new ‘two-pronged’ crackdown to protect children.

Police launched a new initiative with Hackney Council on Wednesday last week, calling on the public to help identify victims and perpetrators of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The Londonwide operation, dubbed Makesafe, wants to raise awareness amongst taxi drivers and people working in hotels, pubs, schools, care homes and youth clubs so they can watch out for any warning signs when they come into contact with young people, who often do not recognise themselves that they are victims of the ‘hidden crime’.

CSE is defined as a young person being manipulated into a sexual relationship or situation by an adult.

It often involves the youngster being offered drugs, alcohol, money, gifts, cigarettes, mobile phones, or “love” in return for performing sexual acts.

Det Insp Ian Fleming, based at Stoke Newington police station, said: “We alone can’t remedy this.

“It’s difficult to say how big the problem is – it’s similar to domestic abuse in terms of reporting, in that it goes unreported in the first instance, so we need to make people aware it does exist.

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“We feel CSE is under reported, due to a lack of awareness or knowledge, and a social acceptance of young men’s behaviour towards young women in particular.”

He continued: “If people spot an older man with a younger girl, who might seem vulnerable in circumstances they aren’t happy with we want them to tell us. Say young females on the streets that may look as though they are missing, dishevelled or unkempt. “We know there’s a link into gangs, we know young females who go missing are subject to CSE too. They may go missing for a number of reasons, but then once they do go missing they put themselves in a vulnerable position.”