All Bournemouth taxi and private hire drivers are receiving free mandatory training in a bid to help protect children and young people in the town from Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and human trafficking.
As National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day (Friday 18 March 2016) approaches, awareness training for taxi drivers is just one of the ways Bournemouth Council is aiming to raise the profile of CSE, particularly to businesses such as the taxi trade in the town.
Councillor Nicola Greene, cabinet member for education and children’s services, said: “We have identified that our taxi and private hire drivers play a really important role in helping to safeguard the young and vulnerable of whom they may be in contact with through their job. Local drivers are often the eyes and ears within the community and their knowledge and information can play a crucial part in protecting young people from being victims of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).”
Bournemouth Council’s Licensing Board agreed that all licensed drivers would benefit from specific training on how to spot CSE concerns and the importance of reporting them to the appropriate agencies. Free mandatory training is being provided to all taxi and private hire drivers (950 drivers) in Bournemouth.
Kevin Holmes, chairman of Bournemouth Joint Taxi Trades Association, said: “We are fully supportive of any measure that help to safeguard young or vulnerable people in our society. We are more than happy to work with the police and the local authority to help stamp out these despicable practices.”
As well as taxi driver training, the council is working closely with other agencies such as Bournemouth Tourism Board, local schools and health professionals to raise awareness of CSE and the signs to look out for. The council is rolling out a parenting programme to provide support to parents and a leaflet for parents and carers is being made available in libraries and through schools to provide advice on CSE.
For more information about CSE visit: www.bournemouth.gov.uk/cse