Rotherham MP voices fears over future of Night Watch scheme aimed at protecting children

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has urged the Government to extend the provision of the ‘Night Watch’ service that trains workers how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

Night Watch, run by Barnardo’s and funded by the Department for Education, has provided free training to night workers on how to keep children safe from sexual abuse and exploitation.

But when the pilot runs out in March there will be a gap in provision while the Government decides whether to tender for a new contract.

So far 5,000 night workers, including doctors, nurses, police officers, hotel and bar staff and taxi drivers have been trained in how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

The pilot has run in Rotherham, Sheffield, Plymouth, Buckinghamshire, Manchester, Bristol, Sussex, London, Birmingham, Leeds and Middlesbrough.

Ms Champion said: “It is incredibly short-sighted of the Government to allow the Night Watch scheme to run out without having proper plans in place for the end of its contract.

“I know first-hand from Barnardo’s that it has been a huge success and it concerns me that there will be a significant gap in provision that will affect some of society’s most vulnerable young people.

“The Government should at the very least extend the pilot whilst it tenders for a new contract.”