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International Missing Children Day - PC Chris Neely talks about his work safeguarding young people in Manchester

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Safeguarding Manchester

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Today is International Missing Children Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the number of children who go missing around the world, and to ensure more attention is given to making child safety a priority.
Safeguarding children and young people is an absolute priority for us.
PC Chris Neely is an officer based at Manchester Piccadilly and works with the Railway Children charity to help keep young people safe on the railway network. He is currently working on a project in the city to intercept young people who may be at risk before they end up in serious harm
“We deal with so many different incidents of vulnerability.”
He said: “Manchester is the number one location for incidents of children and young people being identified as being at risk and knowing how to spot that and how to react is such an important part of our role.”
“Many of them are running away. I suppose if that’s what you want to do and you want to cover a decent distance, but if you are too young to drive, then the train is a good bet. Not only that, stations are warm, well-lit, often open 24 hours and full of other people – that is pretty attractive to someone who just needs somewhere to hide out for a while. We are now working with the Railway Children to ensure that they are also safe places. A lot of these young people run from care homes or from situations that are already dangerous.”
“They have no money, no ticket and often no particular plan of what to do next.”
Like all BTP officers. Chris has been trained in safeguarding and plays an important role in creating a safe station community for children and young people. 
 “Just last night we picked up a couple of lads who had just decided to do an all-nighter hanging out at the station. They were 14 and 17 and while they weren’t necessarily ‘missing’, neither of them had any money or even a phone on them. We were alerted by rail staff so stopped them at Manchester and tried to explain why it just wasn’t the place for them to be, and took them home. Their details were passed on and followed up by Railway Children who will aim to get to the bottom of the problem, find out why they were doing it and stop them from putting themselves in danger again.
“We need to keep spreading the message to the public too.”
“As a police force we’re all aware of the issues and risks to children but I would urge anyone who sees or hears something that doesn’t seem right or just makes them feel uncomfortable to report it. We’d much rather go and check something out and find out it was nothing than not to have checked in the first place.”

Read about our work to safeguard young people on the rail network 
http://www.btp.police.uk/safety_on_the_railway/keeping_children_safe/safeguarding_on_transport.aspx
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PC Chris Neely

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