Pledge to fight ex­ploita­tion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

BUCKS County Coun­cil has reaf­firmed its de­ter­mi­na­tion to fight the scourge of child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion as its cab­i­net agreed to a raft of new mea­sures on Mon­day.

Cab­i­net mem­bers backed the ma­jor­ity of rec­om­men­da­tions made by a coun­cil scru­tiny body, which car­ried out a lengthy re­view of prac­tices across all or­gan­i­sa­tions work­ing with chil­dren and young peo­ple in Bucks.

Rec­om­men­da­tions from the re­port, by the Chil­dren’s So­cial Care and Learn­ing Se­lect Com­mit­tee, in­cluded the de­vel­op­ment of a tool­kit for use in schools to help schools foster re­silience in chil­dren from an early age.

Leader Martin Tett stressed to cab­i­net mem­bers that tack­ling child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion was a top pri­or­ity.

He said: “I hear peo­ple say it doesn’t hap­pen here – it hap­pens ev­ery­where, quite frankly. It has to re­main one of our top pri­or­i­ties. It’s a blot and a shame on our coun­try that this ex­ploita­tion goes on.”

The only one of the 10 rec­om­men­da­tions not to be given full back­ing by cab­i­net was that the coun­cil should com­mis­sion a ser­vice to pro­vide sup­port to par­ents of vic­tims.

Mem­bers were told work goes on with fam­i­lies at present but it was not prac­ti­cal, par­tic­u­larly within the cur­rent bud­get dif­fi­cul­ties, to com­mis­sion a whole new ser­vice for this. Dur­ing the course of the CSE in­quiry, scru­tiny com­mit­tee mem­bers heard from a spec­trum of pro­fes­sion­als en­gaged in the fight against ex­ploita­tion and from those di­rectly af­fected by CSE, in­clud­ing a par­ent of a vic­tim and many vic­tims them­selves.

Scru­tiny com­mit­tee chair­man Val Letheren told the cab­i­net this was one of the most dif­fi­cult pieces of work she had done in her long ca­reer as a coun­cil­lor and added: “We want to let the per­pe­tra­tors know we’re on to them.”

If you are con­cerned about a child in Buck­ing­hamshire call First Re­sponse – Bucks County Coun­cil on 0845 460 0001 or email se­cure­cyp­firstre­sponse@buckscc.

Buck­ing­hamshire also has a coun­ty­wide ‘R-USafe?’ ser­vice for young peo­ple run by Barnardo’s, which is able to of­fer ad­vice and sup­port to any young per­son wor­ried about th­ese is­sues. Email rusafe@barnar­, text: 07546 075 638 or visit www.barnar­ rusafebucks. A DEAD body was found in Che­sham dur­ing the search for a miss­ing pen­sioner.

On Mon­day evening, Thames Val­ley Po­lice was out search­ing for Wil­liam Pur­cell, 79, who had been miss­ing from his home in Bot­ley Road, Che­sham, since Sun­day lunchtime.

The po­lice he­li­copter was also in­volved in the search and of­fi­cers con­ducted door to door en­quir­ers.

Later on Mon­day evening, po­lice dis­cov­ered a body in the woods off Bot­ley Road. The road was closed while po­lice in­ves­ti­gated the scene.

Al­though for­mal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is yet to take place, po­lice be­lieve this to be Mr Pur­cell, who was known by his friends as Ernie.

Po­lice said his death is not thought to be sus­pi­cious and his fam­ily has been in­formed.

A state­ment on Thames Val­ley Po­lice’s Face­book page added: “Our thoughts are with them at this sad time.”

The force also thanked the pub­lic and the me­dia for their help in Mon­day night’s search for Mr Pur­cell.

An in­quest has not yet been opened and Bucks Coro­ner’s Court was un­able to give any fur­ther in­for­ma­tion at this time.

Did you know Mr Pur­cell? Email your tributes to buck­snews@ trin­i­

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