Pledge to fight exploitation
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. gcsx.gov.uk
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, text: 07546 075 638 or visit www.barnardos.org.uk/ 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@ trinitysouth.co.uk.