|Violence and Vulnerability Unit Newsletter Issue 20. – 20 July 2021|
National VRU conference
Last week, Kirsty Gibbons, Probation Manager within Essex VVU and Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet, Essex Police and Chair of the county V&V Operations Board, attended the national Violence Reduction Unit Reducing Serious Violence conference.
This was an excellent opportunity to showcase the work the Essex VVU has been doing around tackling knife crime and the different interventions we have in place to address this. Discussions centred on how interventions can be used to highlight areas of need for individuals and support them in gaining support at the earliest opportunity.
VRU colleagues jointly emphasised the importance of understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences and ensuring that approaches are trauma informed.
Recognising the importance of taking a community centred approach, having a focus on health, and ensuring that decisions and interventions are informed by good data and intelligence which focus on evidenced based approaches were all agreed as key elements for the success of VRUs.
All in attendance agreed that having an effective and wide partnership which helps inform the VRU was central and it was great that Essex VVU was able to highlight this through the commitment of our members to our Operational Board meetings and our Round Table.
Keeping your child safe online over summer
While many people will be hoping to enjoy the summer outside – away from the screens and technology indoors, it’s important to remember online safety. Smartphones go everywhere with us and exploiters don’t take a summer holiday.
Children can be recruited online by a gang from hundreds of miles away; groomed remotely to carry out ‘jobs’ in their community, for their exploiters who live on the other side of the country.
The Essex Safeguarding Children Board, in collaboration with partners, have produced a range of online resources for parents and carers to help them and their children safely navigate the online world.
The resources include podcasts and videos and cover topics such as online gaming, youth involved sexual images and online safety for pre-schoolers.It is important to remember exploitation is never the child’s fault and they are never to blame. By creating a supportive environment, where online safety is discussed in the same way as road safety or stranger danger, children will feel more able to speak openly about concerns they may have.
Operation Trespass: raising awareness of cuckooing
Following a successful awareness campaign in March 2021, which saw over 400 professionals trained in understanding and spotting cuckooing, this month sees the next delivery stage of Operation Trespass.
Operation Trespass is the name given to the initiative to help communities and those who work in the community spot the signs of cuckooing and know how to seek help on the subject.
Cuckooing is when a drug dealer or a gang takes over a vulnerable adult’s (most commonly) address for criminal purposes, usually as a site to supply, store or produce drugs from. Gangs will exploit an individual’s vulnerabilities in order to make a profit and avoid detection by agencies.
Cuckooing is often seen as a part of County Lines criminality which involves drug gangs exploiting children and vulnerable adults.
The VVU has produced campaign ‘grab boxes’ which, during July and August, will be distributed to various agencies including community policing teams and community safety partnerships, to build on the awareness of cuckooing in the community.
In each grab box there will be a number of leaflets, stickers and posters that can be used practically in the effort to rid Essex of cuckooing and destabilise the county lines.
The leaflets include information for neighbours and the immediate community; stickers for houses to make people aware of an increased police presence and also information to help those involved understand what cuckooing is and recognise that it is happening to them.
Knife Angel programme of activity
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, the Knife Angel will visit Chelmsford in September 2021 as part of a programme of activity to celebrate positive youth culture.
Keep it 100, who are the main organisers of the visit, have released the latest programme of events which will take part during the Knife Angel’s stay in Chelmsford’s Central Park. See what is planned at Programme — @keepit100essex
If you would like to find out more about any of the items in this newsletter please get in touch [email protected] Visit our website www.essexvvu.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @EssexVVU