THE police are stepping up their efforts in clamping down on the sexual exploitation of children - with a £500,000 investment.

The funds will contribute to employing 10 specialist police officers and an analyst who will identify where trends are emerging.

Crime commissioner Shaun Wright made the extra cash available to South Yorkshire Police after the force was criticised for failing to get a grip on child sexual abuse.

The criticism came from the Home Affairs Select Committee after a lack of prosecutions.

A dossier of leaked police reports made public highlighted the scale of the problem of young girls being groomed for sex by older men in South Yorkshire, but revealed a lack of police officers to deal with it.

"One of my key policing priorities is protecting vulnerable people," said Mr Wright. "My main area of focus around this will be the prevention of child sexual exploitation.

"I have invested an additional half a million pounds to provide extra resources to South Yorkshire Police to help combat this.

"The extra money will fund 10 officers who will specialise in investigating cases of child sexual exploitation."