FOUR calls a week are made to police over concerns a child is being groomed in Bolton, it has been revealed today.
Greater Manchester Police received 162 reports relating to child sexual exploitation in the 10 months to January this year.
It is almost double the number made in the same period the previous year.
The increase is said to be because of heightened public awareness following the horrific Rochdale grooming case.
Calls include tip-offs from the public, observations by police on the beat, social services, schools and other agencies worried about suspected child sexual exploitation.
Tony Lloyd, the police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester said: “These figures may shock us, but it is actually really positive that members of the public are willing to go to police.
“Police and other agencies have to take action where our young people are being sexually exploited.
"Every community across Greater Manchester has a vital role to play to ensure that those involved in the protection of our children have the information they need to keep young people safe.”
The figures were released as part of a an inquiry on safeguarding children by Anne Coffey, who is the chairman of the All-Party Parlia-mentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, on behalf of Mr Lloyd.
They are they the first batch of intelligence figures since a new system of “flagging” potential child sexual exploitation victims and perpetrators was introduced by GMP following the Rochdale scandal.
The intelligence figures for the other GMP divisions were North Manchester, 130; Bury 65; Wigan 151; South Manchester 269; Salford 75; Oldham 224; Stockport 191; Trafford 115 and Tameside 210. In Rochdale there were 693 reports.
The figures also reveal that there were 105 reported crimes across the whole of Greater Manchester in the same 10 months with some link to child sexual exploitation involving 402 victims and 242 suspects.
Ms Coffey said: “The sheer volume of alerts is a sign that as a community we have all got our eyes and ears wide open and are prepared to fight back together against those who exploit our children and young people.
“It shows that the level of concern amongst people in Greater Manchester is high. However there is still a long way to go and many incidences will still be unreported.”
Dozens of children in Bolton are currently at risk of sexual exploitation.
Latest statistics show that between April and June last year 32 children were identified as being at risk of being sexually exploited.
Figures show that in 2011, 82 children were at risk of sexual exploitation and 87 in 2012.