Sexual exploitation of young people is top of commissioner concerns
THE Conservative candidate hoping to be voted in as Derbyshire's first police and crime commissioner has put stopping the sexual exploitation of young people at the top of his manifesto pledges.
Simon Spencer said the targeting of young people for sex was a despicable crime that feeds on the victims' "low aspiration and lack of opportunities."
He wants to work with organisations such as Safe and Sound and Action for Children as well as youth workers and the police to rebuild confidence in young people.
Launching his manifesto, Mr Spencer pledged to "hit perpetrators hard, sending a clear message that their behaviour and the criminal activities they engage in are not acceptable."
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He said: "I know the particular problems faced by people here in Derbyshire and whatever I do by having a tough stance on tackling sexual exploitation has to be in tandem with raising local aspirations and creating new opportunities for young people.
"Derbyshire police and organisations like Safe and Sound have led the way in targeting these despicable individuals involved in these vile crimes and I am going to ensure that we do even more together to tackle this issue."
Mr Spencer is one of four candidates hoping to be voted in as the county's first commissioner when the public go to the polls on November 15. The other candidates for the £75,000-a-year role are independent Rod Hutton, Labour's Alan Charles and UKIP's David Gale. The winner will replace the existing police authority and have the power the set the force's budget and hold it to account.
Mr Charles said: "'The sexual exploitation of anybody, particularly children, is a crime that must be eradicated. I have confidence in Derbyshire police and local authorities to recognise early warning signals of similar gangs operating anywhere in Derbyshire."
Mr Hutton, a former police special officer who worked with the Metropolitan police, said he had seen at first hand the "excellent and necessary work done in this area."
He said: "With my experience in this area and in working with third sector organisations, I believe that together we can put a plan together to minimise the risks to young people and women and care for those victims through the community safety partnership working."
Mr Gale said: "I led the delivery of one of the earliest information sharing systems to protect vulnerable children in the UK, so I understand the issues faced not just by young people but by the agencies tasked with their protection.
"We need more beat bobbies who know what's happening on their patch."