Getting help from the police

Advice about how to work with the police and current legislation.

You and the police

The role of the police is to assess and manage risk to children and young people; to prevent harm where possible, and to reduce the likelihood of any harm. The exploitation of a child or young person will almost certainly involve the commission of a crime or create the potential for a crime to be committed. It is therefore important you involve the police in the safeguarding of your child from exploitation as early as possible.

It is also important to note that while the police have a responsibility to investigate crime, they are not responsible for whether or not a prosecution takes place. The body that makes that decision is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Once the CPS has reviewed cases submitted by the police, they also determine the charge and prepare the case for court. You can find out more about the CPS on their website.

Advice for working with the police

If you need immediate help or there is an emergency call 999.

For calls to the Police, an emergency is usually defined as: Danger to life; Use or immediate threat of use, of violence; Serious injury to a person; Serious damage to property

Get a police check on a suspected offender

If you have concerns about a suspected offender, under Sarah’s Law you can make a formal request for the police to check if that person has a record of sexual offences.

To make the request, visit our local police station and ask to make a formal request for the information under the Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme. You will be seen by a specialist officer, so be prepared to wait or call back. The officer will then listen to your concerns and invite you to submit a formal request for information. You should receive a reply within 7 days. In exceptional cases information might be disclosed at the time.

Utilising legislation

As there is no offence pertaining to ‘child exploitation’ overall, parents may find it helpful to have an overview of existing legislation which can be utilised to bring charges of child exploitation. This can assist you in your gathering evidence and information log.


Process of Exploitation Relevant Legislation
Meeting a child following  sexual grooming Sexual Offences Act, s.15
Administering a substance   with intent Sexual Offences Act, s.61
Sexual activity with a   child Sexual Offences Act, s.9
Rape, or rape of a child   under 13 Sexual Offences Act, s.1   and s.5
Assault by penetration Sexual Offences Act, s.7
Sexual assault Sexual Offences Act, s.3   and s.7
Causing someone to engage   in sexual activity without consent Sexual Offences Act, s.4   and s.8
Trafficking within the UK   for the purpose of sexual exploitation Sexual Offences Act, s.58
Causing or inciting a child   to engage in sexual activity Sexual Offences Act, s.10
Arranging or facilitating   commission of a child sex offence Sexual Offences Act, s.14


Indecent photographing of   children Sexual Offences Act, ss.   48, 49 and 50 and Protection of Children Act 1978
Causing or inciting child   prostitution or child pornography Sexual Offences Act, s.49   and Protection of Children Act 1978, s.1
Trespass with intent to   commit a sexual offence Sexual Offences Act, s.63
Committing an offence with   intent to commit a sexual offence, e.g. false imprisonment Sexual Offences Act, s.62
Supply of intoxicating   substance Intoxicating Substance   Supply Act 1985
Offences relating to supply   of controlled drugs Misuse of Drugs Act 1971,   Drugs Act 2005
Child abduction Child Abduction Act 1984,   s.2
Criminal intimidation Criminal Justice and Public   Order Act 1994, s.51
Damage or threat to destroy   property Criminal Damage Act 1971,   ss.1 and 2
Common assault Criminal Justice Act 1988,   s.39 or Offences Against the Person Act 1861, s.47
Threats to life Offences Against the Person   Act 1861, s.16
Harassment Protection from Harassment   Act 1997, s.1
Burglary Theft Act 1968, ss.9 and 10