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Devon and Cornwall police must improve how it tackles child sexual exploitation

A report says Devon and Cornwall Police has a 'lack of understanding' of the extent of child exploitation across the force area. Credit: PA: Fabian Stratenschulte

A report says Devon and Cornwall Police has a 'lack of understanding' of the extent of child exploitation across the force area.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found the way officers deal with children who regularly go missing was highlighted as a serious concern which needs to be improved.

Devon and Cornwall Police demonstrated a strong commitment to improving services for the protection of vulnerable people. However, while we found a number of examples of good work to protect children, this commitment has not yet resulted in consistently improved outcomes for children.

We were concerned to find that in a significant number of cases we looked at, poor supervision and record keeping had undermined decision making and safeguarding measures. Some serious cases were investigated by non-specialist officers, resulting in delays, and potential risks posed by alleged offenders not being considered.

The force must also improve how it tackles child sexual exploitation. While the force is taking some steps to address this, it still has much more to do to demonstrate that it is able to effectively identify and safeguard children at risk. We found a concerning case involving a 15 year old girl who, in August 2014, was identified at being at risk of exploitation by an older man. We found no evidence that a longer-term safeguarding plan had been put in place to protect the girl from further exploitation and, at the time of the inspection, the girl still had not been spoken to by police. This is not acceptable.

– Wendy Williams, HM Inspector of Constabulary

Devon and Cornwall Police says it welcomes the report and its acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment to improving services safeguarding children.

We are working hard to deliver improved outcomes for children and work that has been undertaken by the Force has shown that we have to improve recording standards, as often a great deal of work has taken place but has not been captured within the Force’s IT systems.

In respect of Child Sexual Exploitation, the Force has a dedicated team which deal with these types of offences and we are working with all of our partners to deliver the standards contained within the Peninsula Protocol and Strategy.

The Force also recognises the importance of not detaining children and young people in custody and at the time of the inspection we were working with children’s services across the peninsula to ensure appropriate arrangements are put into place to avoid this from occurring.

– Detective Superintendent Paul Northcott, Head of Devon and Cornwall’s public protection unit

70 years in prison for organised crime group

Fathi Ahmed, John Gill and Yahya Hashi Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A drugs gang from London and their Exeter-based drugs runners have been sentenced to over 70 years in prison at Exeter Crown Court.

All 15 defendants pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply class A controlled drugs or the concern in the supply of class A drugs after a 16-month police operation.

Yahya Hashi, 25, of Spicer Road, London and Fathi Ahmed, 29, of Pilgrim Hill, London, were the leaders of the drugs gang who brought cocaine and heroin to the streets of Exeter. Each were sentenced to 8 years in prison.

They were both convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin, along with five other defendants.

Fahad Hassan, 23, of Undine Street, London, was sentenced to 7 years 6 months in prison.

Said Mohamud, 28, of Bromar Road, London, was sentenced to 6 years.

Shafie Afrah, 28, of Kings Road, London, was sentenced to 6 years.

Hassan Abubaker, 23, of West Way, Edware, Middlesex, was sentenced to 6 years.

Sakariye Yasin, 25, of New Park Road, London was sentenced to 6 years.

The local drug runners were sentenced on Thursday 7 May.

Lee Haine, 26, of Birchy Barton Hill, Exeter and Robert Doyle, 34, of College Road, Exeter were both convicted of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin.

Both men were sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. Doyle was also sentenced to an additional 12 months for unrelated theft offences.

The other defendants were convicted of being concerned in the supply of heroin.

Philip Warton, 35, of Park Street, Crediton, was sentenced to three years in prison.

Nicola Martin, 33, of St David’s Hill, Exeter was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.

Christopher Edworthy, 39, of Heavitree Road, Exeter, John Acres, 44, of Exe Street, Exeter, and Richard Lewis, 52, of Slade Close, Plymouth, were all sentenced to two years in prison.

John Gill, 40, of Howarth Close, Sidmouth was sentenced to five years and seven months. This was the third time Gill has been convicted of similar offences and therefore received a more severe sentence.


New care unit for victims of crime

Victims of crime are to be helped by a new care unit that has been set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall.

It will guide people to more than 60 organisations that can provide them with specialist help.

The unit in Exeter has been welcomed by one woman who suffered at the hands of a sex attacker.

David Woodland reports.

Police release CCTV footage of Honiton Robbery

Police have revealed dramatic CCTV footage of a man they would like to trace, after a woman was attacked during a raid at a jewellers in Honiton.

The man entered Banwell Antiques at around 9am on the 22nd of March and grabbed the female staff member from behind and tied her up.

More than three hundred pieces of jewellery were stolen Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police on 101 quoting log number 467.

Jogger seriously injured by rope in Exeter

A 33 year old woman has suffered a serious neck injury after running into a rope that had been deliberately tied across a footpath in Devon. it happened when she was out jogging near to the University of Plymouth's Exeter campus.

This would appear that someone has maliciously put this rope across the walkway at such a height to stop someone who is innocently walking, running or cycling past.

We must bring whoever did this to justice. This may have been a profoundly mindless act that's had a very serious consequence.

Whoever did this may have done it as a prank and are now possibly regretting their actions.

I would say to them, if you have any sense of remorse, I would encourage you to come forward.

– Detective Inspector Grant Leitch


Police image: Burglary in Bradninch

Police want to speak to a man of this description in connection to a burglarly Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

Police have issued an image of a man they would like to speak to in relation to a burglary in Bradninch.

The incident took place at a house on West End Road between 12.30 and 12.45 on Monday 8th July.

The 89-year-old female occupant of the house disturbed a man in her hallway as she was looking through a cupboard.

When the victim confronted him, he made his excuses and left.

She later discovered that a number of rings had been stolen.

The victim had left the front door of her house open due to the hot weather.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Police on 101, quoting reference KU/13/623.

CCTV image: Cash theft in South Devon

CCTV footage Credit: Devon & Cornwall Police

Police have issued CCTV images of two suspects following a theft of cash.

The theft occurred around 4.10pm on Thursday 6th June at the Golden Sands Holiday Park in Dawlish Warren. The offenders entered via a door to the bar and then entered the office where they stole £13,000 from a safe.

One offender is described as being a white man in his early to mid twenties, approximately 5’10” in height, slight to medium build. He has dark hair which was covered with a grey baseball cap. He was wearing dark coloured shorts, a white t-shirt, and a green zip hooded jacket.

The second offender is described as being a white man, aged in his late twenties, approximately 6’ in height and of muscular build. He has short cropped hair and was wearing a dark coloured cargo style pants, a white t-shirt and a grey coloured zip front hooded top with white strings.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting police reference JG/13/989 or alternatively call Crimestopppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or report online at

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