POLICE are continuing to issue child abduction warnings to adults in order to protect young people from being exploited.

Child abduction warning notices aim to protect children under 16 – or 18 if under local authority care – from forming inappropriate relationships or associations which may place them at risk of significant harm.

The charity NSPCC Cymru said young people who received attention, gifts or alcohol might not realise they were potentially being groomed.

Dyfed-Powys Police issued 13 such warnings in 2017-18, then 47 the next year, followed by 25 between April 2019 and the beginning of March 2020.

During this period, 13 child abduction warnings were issued in Pembroke, nine in Haverfordwest, eight in Milford Haven, five in Llanelli and four in both Carmarthen and Ammanford.

The figures follow a Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporter Service, although Dyfed-Powys Police added that due to its recording systems the information may or not be accurate.

Meanwhile South Wales Police issued or attached 64 child abduction warnings in 2017-18, then 92 the following year, followed by 68 between April 2019 and the beginning of March 2020.

It said attached warnings were deemed not required because other safeguarding options were used, or because they were deployed in error.

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But of the 68 warnings issued in the first 11 months of 2019-20, only five were classed as attached with the other 63 actually issued.

South Wales Police said it encouraged all offences relating to children to be reported.

Commenting on the figures, NSPCC Cymru said it was crucial that police continued their hard work to protect children at risk of sexual exploitation by tackling this “hidden crime”.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “The young people who are targeted often won’t realise they are being manipulated into sexual activity, by being offered gifts, attention, drugs or alcohol.”

She urged children, and adults, to get in touch if they had concerns.

“We all have a responsibility to safeguard children in our communities,” she said.

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