Credit: Notts Police

Hotel staff have been warned to spot the signs of abuse to help prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

Nottinghamshire hotels reopened on May 17th after government coronavirus restrictions eased, allowing two households and up to six to mix indoors.

The police are launching an appeal to hotel staff to keep an eye out for the possible signs of abuse.

This includes young people looking uncomfortable, suspicious bookings and unusual activity from the guests.

Detective Inspector Gemma Scott, who leads the exploitation unit, said: “Sadly we do know that a very small number of people use hotels to exploit children and young people and to engage in illegal sexual activity.

“That means that hotel staff – whether they realise it or not – are actually on the front-line of efforts to keep vulnerable people safe.

“Very often those warning signs amount to things that – for whatever reason – just don’t look or feel right. It could be an older man with a teenage girl who is clearly not related to him and appears uncomfortable, or somebody who lives locally but arrives with a young person wanting to book a room.

“By helping hotel staff to better understand these key warning signs we are empowering them to help safeguard some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Key warning signs of sexual exploitation also include ‘walk-in’ bookings with no prior reservations, and requests for secluded rooms.

Hotel staff have been asked by the Nottinghamshire Police to retain CCTV footage and maintain an incident logbook.

Detective Inspector Scott added: “We understand that people are often reluctant to call the police and can be worried that they will be wasting our time.

“So let me be very clear: we want to hear from anyone who is concerned about the welfare of a child.”