Durham police launches new training to tackle child sexual exploitation

Helen Murphy, of Durham Constabulary's safeguarding team.
Helen Murphy, of Durham Constabulary's safeguarding team.

North East police officers will train up their colleagues and schools in the fight to keep children safe from paedophiles.

Durham is rolling out an innovative approach to other police forces and organisations such as schools in the fight to keep children safe from sexual abuse.

The training is taking place this week and includes representatives from police forces, councils, health and education from across the UK.

Earlier this year Durham Constabulary adopted the ‘Intervene to Protect a Child’ (IPC) training, which was developed initially by the Texas Rangers in the USA.

The training was delivered by Mentor Forensic Services whose co-director, Dr Joe Sullivan, is an internationally renowned expert on offender behaviour. Dr Sullivan has supported many

Frontline police officers and other professionals are taught to recognise the signs that someone may be sexually abusing or exploiting children, and also to be aware of clues which may

indicate a particular child is at risk.

IPC training enables officers to identify behaviour which might prompt them to consider questioning an individual about their relationship with a child in their care, even if they had

come into contact with that person for a completely different reason.

Helen Murphy, from the force’s safeguarding team said: “Durham Constabulary is committed to protecting vulnerable people and holding abusers to account.

"IPC forms part of a number of initiatives to ensure we protect young people and identify anyone who poses a risk to children.

“We work with a number of agencies such as Durham County Council to intervene to protect a child and it’s fantastic we now have the opportunity to share our learning on a national scale. “

Dr Joe Sullivan said: “The ‘Intervene to Protect a Child’ training empowers frontline professionals who are not child protection specialists to view their everyday, routine

interactions with members of the public through a different lens.

"Whether they work in enforcement or with children in any capacity, it’s about igniting a professional curiosity that could ultimately lead to a child being safeguarded.

“We are delighted that Durham Police is leading the way in delivering this training at a national level, as it will benefit many more children across the UK.”