Three South Yorkshire boroughs collaborate to tackle child criminal exploitation

Barnsley Council’s Cabinet members have approved Barnsley Council’s participation in a multi-agency, sub-regional initiative aimed at addressing child criminal exploitation in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.

At their meeting today (Monday, 24 June), members received a report giving more information about the initiative, which will tackle CCE during 2019/20, based upon the principles of prevention and targeted early intervention. 

The initiative has been funded by Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, through the Home Office’s Early Intervention Youth Fund.

Child criminal exploitation (CCE) is an emerging theme in all areas of the UK and South Yorkshire is no different. South Yorkshire has a high number of Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) and in the past five years Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham have each experienced in variable proportions ‘county lines’ issues in relation to young people being targeted for CCE, the report says.

It is important that professionals start seeing young people who are involved in gangs as potential victims of exploitation or trafficking and that all young people under 18 and therefore considered children, are treated as such and are safeguarded by society.

Doncaster Children’s Services Trust has led on a bid to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, to establish a sub–regional CCE response covering the areas of Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham.

The bid was successful in attracting £703,432 over two years (2018-2020) to be split across these three areas of South Yorkshire. 

A coordinated response will take place between agencies to both disrupt and effectively support young people who are experiencing CCE or who may be on the margin of criminal exploitation.

A team has been created, based at Colonnades House in the centre of Doncaster. The team includes forensic psychologists, police officers, positive activities youth workers who are co-designing a range of activities with young people in communities across the three boroughs. 

There will also be a crime and consequences education package developed for schools.

The bid runs up to March 2020 but money has been secured to ensure that the positive activities for young people will run well beyond this.

Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: “We are committed to preventing any occurrences of CCE in Barnsley. We already do a lot of work to keep our young people safe from harm, including preventing them getting involved in criminal activity, and this partnership project will provide further support.”

An evaluation of the outcomes of the initiative will be reported to a future meeting of Cabinet. 

The report can be read in full here: http://bit.ly/2MNl3az

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