The Association of Chief Police Officers has teamed up with EastEnders actress Shona McGarty to produce a training film aimed at helping police officers support vulnerable children being sexually exploited.

The video, funded by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), sees McGarty's Albert Square character 'Whitney' expand on a storyline used on the BBC show to explore how children and young people can be made vulnerable to grooming and sexual abuse

It also aims to highlight the grooming and manipulation techniques used by abusers and give officers advice on how to spot the early signs of group-associated grooming.

You can watch the video below or on the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) YouTube channel:

Peter Davies, ACPO lead for Child Protection and Chief Executive of the CEOP said: "Investigating child abuse cases can be very complex. With group-associated sexual abuse there can be major challenges faced by agencies in identifying child victims and gaining their trust in order to help them to build successful cases against offenders.

"Breaking down any real or perceived barriers to reporting is vital. We need child victims to feel confident that when they do report or come to the attention of the authorities, they will be believed and the appropriate steps taken to protect them.

"By making this film available on the internet we hope to not only reach the thousands of police officers who can potentially come across this kind of sexual abuse but also the thousands of other professionals who work in child protection."

The 20 minute film, made with the help of Asset TV and Siyonatech, was created in response to one of the recommendations made by CEOP's Out of Mind, Out of Sight report.

In an exclusive interview, which will appear in the December edition of our sister publication Policing Today, NSPCC CTAC police liaison officer Kip Gibbens said that "officers receive nowhere enough training and awareness on being the first point of contact in child exploitation cases".

Assistant Chief Constable David Peacock, Service Director at the NPIA, believes this new film will help improve that situation and added: "This short awareness film will enable officers to spot the warning signs early on and work with authorities to intervene quicker to protect these children".

To report a concern about a child being exploited visitwww.nspcc.org.uk/help-and-advice/worried-about-a-child/
Posted 30/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com