Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner hosts schools event to help protect children from exploitation and County Lines

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has hosted a forum between secondary schools and Derbyshire Constabulary to highlight key safety risks impacting teenagers today.

The event was attended by 45 specialists from schools and organisations that work with young people across the county.

Attendees were made aware of the work underway by Derbyshire Constabulary to protect children from child exploitation, violence against women and girls, drugs, serious violence and County Lines and the resources available to help them engage with young people who need help.

The event invited headteachers and safety leads to share their views and any concerns they have about young people’s safety and also promote areas of good practice that could help support other schools.

Members of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victims’ Services team were also on-hand to provide valuable information on where to direct young people to help services.

Opening the event, Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster urged delegates to build positive relationships and improve communication channels to help deliver better outcomes for young people and reduce risk.

She said: “Child exploitation is a complex issue with no single solution. Adults and children can be both victim and offender and is vital agencies work together to recognise the risks and protect young people from harm.

“Safeguarding is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan and I have pledged to increase engagement between the police and partners to encourage the recognition and reporting of the crimes that pose a danger to young people. This engagement event is a positive step forward and I will continue to work with headteachers, youth organisations and the force to ensure we do everything possible to give our young people the support they need to live happy and safe lives.

“We have supported the training of hundreds of professionals working with young people on how to spot the signs of exploitation and other risks. I continue to commission top-quality specialist support to help young people recover from trauma including survivors and victims of exploitation to prevent further harm.

“There is more to do, however, and it is imperative we keep the dialogue open so that partners can learn from one another and build confidence among victims.  In turn, this will encourage more to report their experiences to the police and other professionals in the future.”

County Lines is a concern across the country.  The term is used to describe circumstances where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries and usually by children and vulnerable adults coerced by gangs. The ‘County Line’ or ‘Deal Line’ is the mobile phone used to take the order of the drugs.

Helen Jefferson, Director of Services for Students at Derby College said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students and all young people across our local communities is of utmost importance to us as the city and county’s leading FE provider.

“Sharing information and intelligence is crucial and the conference was very useful to strengthen partner relationships and remain up to date with the modus operandi of criminals looking to exploit vulnerable young people in the communities that we serve.”

Delegates were presented with local data which showed 55 children had been assessed as being at risk of exploitation in Derbyshire and are actively managed by the Police and local authority’s social care professionals.

The forum included an interactive Q&A session which offered visitors to opportunity to ask questions and raise any issues relevant to their schools.

The force also presented its new interactive game for schools to work with young people around knife crime and showcased a new Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) campaign video to discuss the role teachers and education providers play in women and girl’s safety.

Ends

Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair – 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

PLEASE NOTE: With the exception of legally required data and historic financial records, the majority of the information on the Derbyshire OPCC website covers information, news and events for the current Commissioner only. For access to news articles and information covering the previous Commissioners please contact the OPCC team.
NewsDerbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner hosts schools event to help protect children from exploitation and County Lines
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