Child Criminal Exploitation and ‘County Lines’, is when gangs and organised crime networks groom and exploit children, young people and vulnerable adults. Often these people are made to travel across counties and use dedicated mobile phone ‘lines’ to supply drugs.
In March 2018, our Children, Young People and Families team organised a community awareness week for Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), to coincide with National Child Sexual Exploitation Day and Operation Sceptre, a national campaign week where Police forces across the UK raise awareness of knife crime. The team interacted with 2000 members of the public across the five township areas.
Conversations found that the older generation were particularly worried about their grandchildren and what they could be exposed to. Many said they worried about them going out alone and getting hurt. Most people described the current issues around violence and knife crime as ‘awful’ ‘scary’ and ‘out of control’.
Following conversations, and in response to the increased risk of Child Criminal Exploitation and county lines in Dudley borough, our team brought community and voluntary organisations, CHADD, Barnardos and Phase Trust together to design an appropriate service to link people to information, advice and other services.
We supported the group to apply to the Innovation Fund. The group were successful in attracting £160,000 from the Innovation Fund and a further £20,000 from the Early Intervention Youth Fund to recruit 3 people to work on the NAVIGATE project, working on a range of preventative resources, training sessions and one to one support for those at risk or involved in CCE and county lines.
3 people have been recruited to work on the NAVIGATE project, working on a range of preventative resources, training sessions and one to one support for those at risk and involved in Child Criminal Exploitation and county lines.