Police have strengthened its work on tackling child exploitation in Bury through a series of training events.

Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) Bury Complex Safeguarding Team delivers a "multi-agency response" to the crime.

Police, health, and children’s services and other borough partners, including parenting workers, early help staff and trading standards, team up to tackle exploitation and work with schools.

The team has been delivering a number of training events with representatives from the police and health and social care to raise awareness of child exploitation.

This included the importance of remaining vigilant online and how police and partners can offer support to report concerns.

The training is seen as a "significant step in promoting awareness and creating an open and safe space for professionals, children, and their families to communicate any concerns they have, deepen their understanding of what exploitation can look like, and equip them with the correct resources and knowledge they need to identify the signs".

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Detective Chief Inspector John Charlton, of the GMP Bury Complex Safeguarding Team, said: “These sessions are a really important part of the work we do, and the more we can educate young people and members of the public, the more they will pick up on the signs of exploitation.

“The complex safeguarding teams were created as we recognised that we needed to provide more positive outcomes to victims and prioritise reports of child sexual abuse.

“In the last 12 months in Bury, we have made 235 safeguarding referrals amid our ongoing commitment to prevent child exploitation.

“This is an increase of 22 per cent, which is attributable to improved partnership working which has helped us identify patterns when they emerge, ensure the right agency acts, and make sure we get young people the help they need sooner.”

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Jeanette Richards, executive director of children’s services at the council, added: “Bury Council and the wider safeguarding partnership have made work around exploitation of children and young people a top priority and it’s great that all local agencies are invested in the success of the team.

“We know things can be tough for young people, there are lots of challenges for them in the world and they may sometimes be faced with complex risks posed by peers or adults.

“We know how valuable the team’s direct work is from feedback from young people and their families.

“Workers develop strong relationships with vulnerable young people and enable them to better understand and protect themselves from exploitation.

“Workers also work with parents to help them support and protect their children.”