Sexual exploitation of children is a "growth industry" in Middlesbrough with both primary and secondary school children targeted, a new report says.
The claims were made in a report to the council's community safety and leisure scrutiny panel.
In the report Martin Burnett, assistant head teacher at Acklam Grange Secondary School, said child sex exploitation was extremely prevalent in the area.
Several groups gave evidence for the report including Barnardo's and Cleveland Police.
The report said: "When speaking to the Assistant Head Teacher from Acklam Grange school the panel learnt that CSE (child sex exploitation) in Middlesbrough was a ‘growth industry’ and that it was extremely prevalent in Middlesbrough.
"Worryingly Members heard that the risk was not only to secondary school pupils and that incidences of primary school pupils being targeted had been picked up in the transition process from primary to secondary school."
The report said that police, youth workers and other agencies made regular patrols to find potentially vulnerable children
The report said: "The importance of the whole community looking out for evidence of CSE cannot be underestimated."
The findings of the report will be discussed by the council's executive in the future.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, is warning people not to assume that trafficking does not happen on Teesside. It follows a Human Trafficking and Slavery Conference.
Representatives from the National Crime Agency, national charity Hope for Justice, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and young people from Barnardos, all spoke about how human trafficking and slavery is hidden in communities. They said that trafficking can take many forms, including forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, or for criminal means.
Cleveland Police has made three referrals to the UK Human Trafficking Centre this year after officers had identified two people who had been trafficked as cannabis farmers to run farms and a possible case of domestic servitude.
“It’s hidden from communities, but we are working to bring it to the forefront and I want people living across Cleveland to help us. It could be that people are being trafficked for criminal means, or for forced labour in homes in the area. Anyone with concerns about something they see or hear should contact police."
An 11-year-old boy who went missing after leaving school has been found safe and well.
Reece Parker was at Thornaby Academy yesterday but didn't return to his home at 3pm as expected.
Cleveland Police confirmed he has been found this morning.
Cleveland Police is the only force in the country to investigate all crimes reported to it.
Cleveland's performance is in stark contrast to many other police forces, according to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary - which suggests that many have given up on basic policing, because of a lack of resources.
Police need "the tools to do the job" if they are going to investigate every crime which is reported, a watchdog has told Good Morning Britain.
HMIC's Thomas Winsor said police did prioritise violent crimes but needed to be "properly supervised, properly lead and given the tools to do the job," if they were going to investigate more low level criminality.
Austerity has forced police to use their time more efficiently and this has meant prioritising calls from victims of alleged crimes, the Association of Chief Police Officers said.
President Sir Hugh Orde said:
We accept that the public has a natural expectation to have a positive and supportive experience of interacting with the police service when they have been a victim of crime.
The reality of austerity in policing means that forces must ensure that their officers' time is put to best use and this means prioritising calls.
In some instances, this may mean that a report of a crime where the victim is not in imminent danger or the offender is not still in the immediate vicinity will be dealt with over the phone or by other means than the deployment of an officer to the scene. This is not an abdication of forces' duty of care to victims.
Some 17 police constabularies in England and Wales have such a disinterested mindset towards some crimes they "failed to identify vulnerable callers", a watchdog has found.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found:
- A total of 37 out of 43 forces in England and Wales used a system in which a call-handler assessed whether an officer should attend the scene of an incident.
- But in some forces, call-handlers could not accurately describe what amounted to a risk or threat.
- Attendance rates at crime scenes in the year to November 30 2013 varied widely between forces from 39% in Warwickshire to 100% in Cleveland.
- This means that nearly two-thirds of crime scenes in Warwickshire were not attended by a police officer.
- And in 17 forces, the Inspectorate found police community support officers (PCSOs) were being asked to investigate crimes beyond their role profile and training.
A police officer was dragged along a road in Middlesbrough after attempting to confiscate car keys from a suspected criminal.
A black Saab car was stopped on Albert Road shortly before 5am this morning by two police officers who believed it was wanted in connection with a theft.
One of the officers was speaking to the driver and tried to take the keys. The driver tried to get away, dragging the policeman a 'short distance' along the road.
The other officer was hit by the car as it fled the scene.
Both were taken to hospital - one with head and neck injuries, the other with minor injuries. They have now been discharged.
Two men, aged 32 and 24, were arrested on suspicion of assault. The 24-year-old was also arrested on suspicion of obstructing police.
Anyone with information should contact Cleveland Police on 101.
Cleveland Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after a 73-year-old woman needed hospital treatment following 'contact with a police dog' in Middlesbrough. Officers were looking for a crime suspect and were searching the woman's garden, with her consent, at the time of the incident on Penrith Road. The woman received first aid from police officers on July 16 and was then taken to James Cook University Hospital.
“Our main concern at present is for the welfare of the lady and her family, we deeply regret what has happened and we wish her a full recovery from her injuries. “The dog has been removed from operational duties whilst an investigation takes place and the matter has been referred to the IPCC.”
Simon Nickless has been appointed as Assistant Chief Constable of Cleveland Police. He joins from Nottinghamshire Police where he was a Chief Superintendent.