Anti-Gang Exploitation Initiative Launched By Essex's PCC

18 January 2017, 05:34 | Updated: 18 January 2017, 05:39

Essex Police

Essex's Police and Crime Commissioner is launching a new initiative to prevent youngsters being exploited by gangs.

Over one thousand people from secondary schools, pupil referral units and community safety partnerships will be trained to identify young people at risk.

Mr Hirst, said: "Gangs exploit some of the most vulnerable young people in our community, bringing them into a culture of crime, drugs and abuse. Tackling gangs is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan. This pathway into exploitation can be stopped by early identification and effective intervention.

"Once identified, those at risk of being exploited will be supported by a network of highly skilled specialists, including some ex-gang members,, who work with young people at risk to tackle the issues affecting them and help them turn their lives around.”

The charity Gangsline were successful in a competitive tender process to deliver this programme and will be funded by the PCC to deliver targeted interventions as part of the PCC, Safer Essex and Essex Police new Violence Prevention Strategy.

Gangsline is a national organisation that has been successfully working with local partners on gang intervention programmes since 2000. Their early intervention programmes have proved successful in diverting at risk young people from a life in gangs.

Sheldon Thomas, Founder and Chief Executive of Gangsline, said: "We are delighted to be working with the PCC and the Safer Essex Partnership in delivering this innovative programme. It is clear that we share the same vision in addressing gang and youth violence, in Essex, a county that we live in and a place where we are committed to making a positive difference.”

Gangsline has proven track record of effectively addressing the root causes of why young people get caught in gang membership. Issues such as family breakdown, anger, the consequences of societal rejection, emotional hurt, unresolved conflict, a missing sense of belonging, the dangers of the disillusioned and the despair of struggling parents and absent fathers have all had a massive contribution to the choices made by many of our socially excluded young people. Gangsline focuses on notions of responsibility, morality, positive thinking, anger management, self- belief, leadership, success and purpose to help support these young people.

Supt Paul Wells, Essex Police’s lead on tackling gang related crime, said: "It is excellent news that the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex has commissioned Gangsline to carry out key training to help education
professionals in Essex identify youngsters at risk of being exploited by gangs.

"Essex is a safe place to live but we know there are gangs who travel into our county to sell drugs and cause violence and our specialist teams robustly deal with them.

"Gangs and their activity can have a devastating impact on both the community and those who become involved with them. By tackling the issue early in someone’s life and offering proactive intervention it can help them avoid falling into a cycle of criminality.”