A crucial insight into the hidden world of exploitation and vulnerability in Shropshire will be shared with businesses and individuals as part of a police-led webinar.

West Mercia trainers Vicki Ridgewell and Karen Perry are set to host three online sessions through the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce – open to members and non-members – focused on organised crime gangs, child sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, and modern-day slavery.

The training has previously been run for specific groups in Telford and Wrekin but is now being opened up to anyone who wants to attend, with the Chamber partnership happening thanks to Dean Harris (High Sheriff of Shropshire) who recently attended a course with Vicki and Karen.

Dean said: “The course was a real eye-opener to me about the kinds of things happening right here in Shropshire, specifically around the hidden high street and the exploitation of children.

“I feel very strongly that every parent or carer needs to know exactly what’s going on, learn how to spot the signs and what to do if they suspect their child is vulnerable. As well as a personal responsibility for all of us to be aware of the issues, I believe the onus is also on Shropshire businesses to inform themselves; this isn’t just about protecting your own children, but protecting every child in the county.”

West Mercia Force Lead Inspector Ram Aston added: “For the past few years these training sessions have been delivered to organisations across Telford & Wrekin where we received excellent feedback and positive calls that enabled us to safeguard vulnerable people, without this training we would not have been made aware of this. We’re pleased that we’re now able to deliver the training in other areas such as Shropshire.

“Our communities play a crucial role in helping us to protect those who are vulnerable to being targeted by criminals looking to exploit them and it is important everyone is aware of the signs and what to look out for. It is also important to know what to do and who to raise concerns with if they do suspect someone is being criminally exploited. It may be they are wrong but we would rather the concerns be raised as if they are right it could help protect that child, young person or vulnerable adult from further harm.”

The sessions will be held on Monday 23rd November from 12pm to 2pm, 2pm to 4pm, and 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Each features the same content so individuals should book on to just one session.

Visit https://www.shropshire-chamber.co.uk/events to book.