Child exploitation investigation underway in Torbay

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An investigation into possible child exploitation has been launched by Torbay police in the United Kingdom, the inquiry could involve up to 20 or more victims who are thought to be young girls aged 12 and above. A local Torbay man aged 19 years old has been arrested today (Thursday) in relation to child abuse allegations and remains in custody. Other arrests have not been ruled out at this time.

Police, working with partners in Torbay including the Children’s Safeguarding Board, Children’s Services, Health and Education have been working together to provide support to the victims throughout this enquiry.

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Specially-trained police officers and social workers have interviewed a number of victims and are currently deployed seeing other children. Each child spoken to is being supported by a carefully-considered care plan, making use of several agencies’ skills and specialisms.

Officers continue to identify potential victims and are arranging to speak to them.

More than 50 officers are now working on this major enquiry from various areas of policing. Other agencies such as health and Children’ Services have also provided significant resources.


No offences have taken place in any school and all the offences are thought to have taken place in Torbay.

The investigation is being led by Det Insp Simon Snell from the Public Protection Unit in Devon & Cornwall Police.

Det Insp Simon Snell said: “This arrest is a result of positive action taken by the police and our partners in Torbay. One line of enquiry we are looking into as part of the investigation is the use of social networking and online grooming, but it is important to stress this is one of many enquiries being undertaken by the team.


“What I would like to emphasise, however, is this enquiry is not about child abductions and this is not a case of children being taken off the streets. We believe the victims were known to the suspects in some capacity.

“I would also like to encourage anyone with information to come forward and would like to reassure anyone who contacts the police that any allegations we receive will be taken seriously.”

Anyone with any concerns around child exploitation in Torbay is advised to call the police on 08452 777444 and quote ‘Operation Mansfield’.


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