As hotels re-open to the public, Nottinghamshire Police is encouraging establishments across the county to make staff aware of the key warning signs of abuse – from uncomfortable looking young people and evasive adults to suspicious bookings and unusual activity in and around bedrooms.
The force’s child sexual exploitation unit is urging staff to follow their instincts and pay close attention to things that look or feel wrong.
Officers have been in direct contact with venues to drop off advice leaflets and will continue to monitor establishments that give them cause for concern.
By doing so they hope not only to prosecute abusers, but also to identify vulnerable young people who are urgently in need of help and support.
Det Insp Gemma Scott, who leads the exploitation unit, said: “Sadly we do know that a very small number of people use hotels to exploit children and young people and to engage in illegal sexual activity. That means that hotel staff, whether they realise it or not, are actually on the front-line of efforts to keep vulnerable people safe.
“That’s why we want them to act as our eyes and ears – to understand the warning signs, to know when something is wrong, and to have the confidence to report their suspicions to the police.
“By helping hotel staff to better understand these key warning signs we are empowering them to help safeguard some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Key warning sings include ‘walk-in’ bookings who arrive with no ID or luggage and request a secluded room. Children, meanwhile, may seem uncomfortable and may not be registered guests.
Hotels too are being asked to look out for suspicious activity in rooms, and also to take some simple steps that may help in police investigations – including the retention of CCTV footage and refusal records, and maintaining an incident logbook.
To report any suspicious behaviour, contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.