Test purchases were carried out by community police in east Kent as part of ongoing work to safeguard young people and combat child exploitation.
On Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June 2021 officers were assisted by Kent Police Cadets in a test purchase operation to ensure that local hotels and bed and breakfast operators were not selling rooms to those aged under 18.
The two Kent Police Cadets, aged 14 and 15, visited 12 businesses asking for a room. Out of those visited, only two venues refused a room to the teenagers.
The operation was overseen by Police Community Support Officer Mark Ball who said: ‘The action was not about calling-out businesses but ensuring they understand that we all have a responsibility to safeguard young people. Those challenging room requests from under-aged children could be preventing them from coming to serious harm.
‘I was particularly impressed with one venue who not only refused to sell a room to our test purchasers but also began the process of calling the police because they were concerned for their welfare.
‘Those who failed by selling a room were given advice around their responsibilities as a hotelier and warned of the dangers of child exploitation, trafficking and the risks posed by county line gangs.’