CABBIES across Warwick district are keeping a watchful eye for signs of child sexual exploitation – and some reports have already been made.
Warwick District Council is the first authority in the country to make training mandatory. It follows the Roherham child abuse scandal, where it was reported some 1,400 children were exploited.
All 488 current licensed hackney carriage and private hire drivers in Warwick district have now completed the awareness training, and new drivers applying for a licence will be expected to take the course from scratch.
Private hire operators will also need to ensure all staff, including call handlers, undertake the training.
Prior to the mandatory training, cabbies had shown their dedication in helping tackle child exploitation when three-quarters voluntarily took part in sessions run by Barnardos Child Sexual Exploitation Service.
Both mandatory and Barnados courses teach drivers what child sexual exploitation is, the signs indicating a young person is a subject of exploitation, how it affects them as drivers and what they can do to prevent it from occurring.
Cabbies now know what signs to look out for, and what to do when they believe something is not right.
District community protection spokeswoman Coun Moira-Ann Grainger said: “Warwick District Council is committed to protecting the public, especially children who may be vulnerable to abuse.
“I am extremely pleased the taxi operators have supported these requirements. A number of reports have already been made which have resulted in enhancing the safety of our children and young people.”
Anyone who is concerned about a child being abused can call 01926 684 490 or visit www.warwickshirecse.co.uk to find out more.