Reports of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Waltham Forest are among the highest in London, it has emerged.

Up to March this year, the borough had the most referrals in the capital, but has recently fallen into second place. 

Between May 2013 and July 31 this year, there were 17 reports of CSE in Waltham Forest, compared to a London average of eight.

Reports of child sex abuse encompass a whole range of crimes, including receiving something in exchange for sexual activity, child grooming, trafficking, child-forced marriage, pornography, indecent exposure and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Investigations are ongoing on all seventeen reports and in the last twelve months there has been one successful prosecution, which resulted in a three-year prison sentence.

Police have refused to provide details of the case. 

Waltham Forest borough commander Mark Collins said he was not authorised to reveal other boroughs with high levels of CSE reports.

And he claims the reason for the high number of reports is based on a strong partnership with Waltham Forest council.

In the wake of the scandal in Rotherham, where it emerged thousands of children were abused over a long period, a campaign will be launched in Waltham Forest to raise awareness of the issue.

In a joint statement, chief superintendant Collins and council chief executive Martin Esom said: "Waltham Forest is one of three London boroughs leading the way in identifying potential child sexual exploitation cases, thanks to a commitment made by the borough’s police and council to work together to tackle the issue.

"Intense training, led by the Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children Board with other partners, means our officers and staff are better equipped to recognise the signs of CSE and make a referral where they have any suspicions."

Both the council and police have refused to say whether CSE is a problem affecting a particular section of the community.

For more on this story, see this week's Guardian - out Thursday