Child sexual and criminal exploitation happens in our County. Operation Vigilance is about enforcement action to tackle it, together with raising awareness in our communities so they can help us identify it.
Here are the results in numbers from last week’s Operation Vigilance launch.
• 7 warrants planned
• 10 premises visited
• 1 man charged with 2 counts of possession of cannabis with intent to supply
• 23660 cigarettes seized
• 3200g tobacco seized
• 2 covid related fixed penalty notices issued
• 100 bottles of alcohol suspected non-duty paid
• Seizure of a quantity of suspected illegal foreign branded medicine
• 4 agencies working together (Police, County Council, City of Lincoln Council and Home Office Immigration)
Chief Insp Phil Baker is leading the operation targeting the Lincoln area. He said, “Last week’s launch sends a clear message that we will work in partnership to enforce against child criminal and sexual exploitation. We are really grateful to all our partners for their support and hard work in this vital area.”
Community Beat Inspector Ian Richardson said, “Don’t let it happen in your community. Operation Vigilance is about joining with partners and Wednesday’s effort was a fine example of what we can achieve. It doesn’t stop here. We want to continue to take all opportunities to raise awareness of the issue of child exploitation. We want people to know what the signs are so they are better able to spot it and report intelligence so we can take this kind of positive enforcement action.”
Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer said, "Operation Vigilance has been a really successful joint project focusing on Portland Street and the immediate area. There have now been three successful days of action this year, my officers have seized tens of thousands of illicit cigarettes and many kilos of illicit tobacco from retail premises in the area. Prosecutions are being pursued against shop workers, the business owners, and in one case the premises landlord.
“The ultimate goal of the Operation is to stop illegal practices at the shops on a permanent basis because it was identified that young people were being drawn to the shops to purchase these illicit cigarettes exposing them to significant risks. Improving the safety of children in the area has been the main concern of all agencies and I believe this has been achieved. I am really thankful for the enthusiasm and dedication shown by the teams from all agencies, leading to such positive results.
“Lincolnshire Trading Standards Service will continue to fully support the Op Vigilance initiative."
Know the signs
These are some common signs of child exploitation.
- Unexplained injuries.
- Unfamiliar with the area and seeming lost.
- Unusual or excessive use of public transport / taxis / hotels.
- Upset, anxious, secretive, withdrawn behaviours.
- May appear angry or aggressive; these are common signs of trauma.
- Intimidated, fearful or controlled by an older person or group.
- In possession of unexplained money or expensive things.
- Avoidance of authority figures.
- Drop in grades and absence from school.
- Going missing.
- Excessive messages or calls and protective, anxious and secretive about their mobile phone.
Who to call
If you have any information relating to a child that you believe may be being exploited, call us on 101 or 999 if it’s an emergency.
You can alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you are worried that a child is suffering neglect, abuse or cruelty, call the County Council Children’s Safeguarding line on 01522 782111 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm)
How you can help
We believe everyone can help as the eyes and ears of Lincolnshire. In addition, there are certain jobs that put people in the right place, who are a key position to become our silent guardians. Examples include:
- Postal and delivery workers
- Transport staff and drivers including rail, bus and private hire cars
- Security guards
- Door staff
- Waste disposal operatives
- School staff
- Hotel staff
- Local businesses like shops, fast food outlets and cafes
Please, when you see a child, and something doesn’t seem quite right, think vigilance. Is this child being exploited? If in doubt, report it. Together we can tackle this abhorrent crime and help keep children safe.
17 Dec 20 12:22 PM