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Arrests made in child sexual exploitation investigation 

The inside of a police car

Officers have arrested 11 people in connection with an ongoing investigation into child sexual exploitation in Bristol.  

The arrests were carried out at properties in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, as well as one in Gloucestershire, on Wednesday (April 10), with support from the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) and the National Crime Agency.  

Ten of those arrested, who are all males aged between 17 and 33, have been arrested on suspicion of an exploitation related offence. The other man has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a class A drug. 

Senior Investigating Officer Det Ch Insp Jess Aston said: “Today’s arrests are a significant moment in a serious and complex investigation. 

“Although we remain in the early stages, we believe a number of children, aged in their mid to late teens, are victims of sexual exploitation and our priority is to identify and safeguard them, which we’ll do at pace alongside our partner agencies. 

“Officers and staff with Topaz, our child sexual exploitation disruption team, as well as our intelligence team, have been instrumental in carrying out the enquiries resulting in us reaching this arrest phase.  

“Child sexual exploitation can be a hidden crime, but we will continue to identify and support victims of these offences through a multi-agency response, as well as proactively seek out and disrupt offenders. 

“Our Neighbourhood Policing teams will be carrying out engagement and reassurance work with our community stakeholders, and we’d encourage anyone with concerns to contact their local team direct. 

“Due to arrests taking place across Bristol, our Child Sexual Prevention Officer Andri Nicolaou and officers with the Neighbourhood Policing team, have also set up a stall in Broadmead, which will be in place throughout today, to allow more direct engagement and awareness work around exploitation to take place, especially with young people.” 

Four police officers stood under a red Avon and Somerset Police branded gazebo with a black table in front of them

To find out more about the signs of child sexual exploitation, or to provide information about a suspected vulnerable or exploited person, or to submit a report, please visit this link

Details or charities and organisations with expertise in supporting victims of child sexual exploitation can be found here