Aims to stop incidents of Child Sexual Exploitation, prosecuting and otherwise disrupting perpetrators.
National guidance for the use of CSE flags on victims, offenders and locations
Across England and Wales, many Police forces utilise CSE flags for victims, offenders and locations (VOL) on their crime recording and intelligence systems. Historically, this has often been inconsistent in implementation; had poor quality assurance processes in place; and limited reviewing systems to ensure flags remain current and appropriate.
This poor quality means that flags are often of limited operational use to front line officers and undermine the accuracy of analytical products that rely on them. It is symptomatic of the issue that such documents, including threat assessments and problem profiles, often include a ‘disclaimer’ to the effect that they rely on accurate flagging which may not in fact be in place.
As a result, it was accepted that there was a need for national guidance around the use of CSE flagging.
The use of ANPR to tackle travelling CSE offenders
The regional problem profiles completed by the network to identify strategic threats outlined that perpetrators are known to use vehicles to facilitate the trafficking of potential CSE victims from one place to another for the purpose of sexual exploitation. It was identified that there was a lack of tactical use of ANPR to tackle these offenders.
Various operations were conducted from within Regional Organised Crime Units, with a variety of approaches considered.
Operation Railcar was a pilot operation, conducted in a single local authority areas to gauge the effectiveness of PNC ACT markers as a response to this threat area.
Research was conducted and vehicles belonging to suspected offenders were flagged and ACT markers were placed onto PNC. Over a 6 month period 40 vehicles were identified as being linked to High and Medium Risk CSE Suspects in and a total of 517 ANPR hits recorded outside of the host force area.
An evaluation of the operation was conducted by the RIU. (Content only available when logged into Polka)
A number of disruptions were initiated as a result of the pilot, with one child safeguarded following an activation identifying she was in a vehicle with a high risk CSE perpetrator in the early hours of the morning.
Although this practice was not innovative in itself it made use of existing tools available to all Police forces in order to tackle a CSE related threat that is prevalent nationwide.
In order to roll this out to other force areas the forces in question would have to have in the first instance a robust CSE suspect flagging system. Depending on their capacity and number of flagged suspects they have forces can choose to prioritise suspects based on their threat level and conduct research (both on police systems and open source) in order to identify vehicles linked to CSE suspects. Requests can then be made to their local PNC Bureau (the process for this will differ from force to force) and the markers must be reviewed on a regular basis, ideally in line with the suspect review process.
A useful guide in relation to the use of ANPR. A useful guide from COP in relation to the use of ANPR. (Content only available when logged into Polka)
Intelligence and disruption
Across the CSEA regional network coordinators, prevent officers, partners and forces have developed a range of Intelligence led disruption tactics with good practice shared through newly implemented disruption meetings. These meetings have also assisted in identifying gaps in disruption and acted as a forum to develop new and innovative ideas. The ongoing work of the Disruption Group is driven through the Strategic Governance Group (SGG) meetings.