Pilot projects launched to
prevent emerging issue of Child Criminal Exploitation
3 pilot projects aimed at preventing
some of the region's most vulnerable young people from being exploited by
organised criminal gangs have been unveiled by Merseyside's Police Commissioner
Jane Kennedy. She has recently has announced that she has commissioned the new services to examine the
best ways to tackle what is now recognised as:- 'Child Criminal
which sees children as young as 10 being lured into carrying out crime on behalf
of often older, more intimidating and sophisticated criminals.
The Commissioner has made a total of £75,000 available from the funding she
receives from the Ministry of Justice to provide victim support services to find
new ways to address this problem. She has also used the funding to commission an
interactive multimedia production which will raise awareness of this threat to
up to 700 young people across the region.
While there is still no legal definition of 'Child Criminal Exploitation'
or CCE, it is increasingly being recognised as a major factor behind crime in
communities across Merseyside and the UK, while also simultaneously victimising
vulnerable young people and leaving them at risk of harm.
CCE often occurs without the victim being aware that they are being exploited
and involves young people being encouraged, cajoled or threatened to carry out
crime for the benefit of others. In return they are offered friendship or peer
acceptance, but also cigarettes, alcohol or even food and accommodation.
It is believed to be the 1st time in the UK that grants have been awarded to
tackle the issue of CCE.
Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said:- "Child Criminal
Exploitation is a rapidly emerging issue which is a major concern for our
Children as young as 10 or 11 are being groomed to enter gangs and commit crime
on behalf of older criminals. These young people are being exploited and, by
being persuaded or lured into carrying out illegal activities, often with the
promise of something they desire as a reward, they become incredibly vulnerable.
While there is now much greater awareness of the issue of Child Sexual
Exploitation, Child Criminal Exploitation is still very much an unknown
quantity. It is difficult to quantify the scale of the problem and there can
often be complex factors affecting a young person's life when they are driven by CCE into committing crime
Victims of CCE are often fearful of getting into trouble themselves; for the
very actions they have been exploited into carrying out; so it can also be
difficult to get these young people to come forward and speak out about their
These pilot projects are the 1st step into trying to develop a greater
understanding of CCE and the multi faceted issues surrounding it. I want to
provide greater support to help young people recognise the warning signs and get
the help they need to prevent them from becoming embroiled in activities that
could eventually land them in prison. By running these pilot programmes
Merseyside is leading the way in protecting and supporting vulnerable young
The 1st scheme being funding through the Commissioner's CCE grants is a
personalised and intensive support programme delivered by the Prince's Trust for
32 teenagers, aged between 13 and 16, who have been identified as being in or at
risk of CCE. The 'Choices and Consequences' programme will see the young
people spending 2 days a week undertaking a wide range of activities which are
tailored to their specific needs over a 6 week period.
The second scheme will see Knowsley based charity MALS (Mentor, Achieve, Learn
and Support) Merseyside working with young between the ages of 11 and 19 to
raise awareness of CCE, encouraging them to make better life choices. It will
include training young people about the risks of becoming involved in gun and
gang crime, while supporting individuals who have been identified as at risk of
getting into trouble. The funding will also be used to train 15 mentors.
The final scheme will be jointly funded by Knowsley and Sefton Councils and will
see them run a host of group sessions in up to 75% of eligible schools across
the 2 boroughs to increase awareness of CCE among young people and help them
develop ways to avoid becoming exploited. The project will also see 50
professionals across the two areas receive training sessions so they can
continue to deliver awareness raising sessions into the future.
The Commissioner has also pledged nearly £11,000 to support the 'On one
condition' production which will use drama and new media to bring the issues
relating to CCE to life for young people. The funding will enable Creative Youth
Support group, who deliver the interactive workshops, to run 20 sessions across
Merseyside reaching up to 700 young people. The production, which has already
been seen by the Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Sue Murphy, has received
positive feedback from young people on the Wirral where it has been used by
Jane said:- "These projects range from really intensive 1 on 1 support to
some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities, to more widespread
group awareness raising sessions which will take these really important
prevention messages to large numbers of young people. I look forward to
reviewing the success they have in making a difference to the lives of young
people in our region."
The projects will run until the end of March 2017 and will be assessed on a
quarterly basis to review their progress.
The 4 successful projects were selected following an assessment panel which
reviewed 9 bids from a range of approved providers.
A total of 15 providers were
invited to quote for the funding following a consultation process with the
Commissioner's Community Safety Partners.