Projects divert young people from serious and organised crime

By Dan Parton

| 30 May 2019

Several initiatives in Northern England have been highlighted by the government for their efforts aimed at preventing children and young people from getting involved in serious and organised crime.

Community Cougars Foundation is using sport to work with young people in Bradford. Image: CCF

Northumbria Police is running a programme called Get Connected, which aims to divert siblings and associates of gang members away from crime in and around Newcastle.

In the first stage of the programme, 19 young people identified as being at high risk have been the subject of bespoke interventions carried out by seven organisations.

These include a "deep dive" review of existing interventions, one-to-one mentoring, group workshops, parental engagement and universal youth work.

Other activities include five "toolkit sessions", attended by 50 individuals from more than 30 local organisations.

Topics covered included identifying young people being drawn into crime, gangs and county lines, and understanding children's adverse childhood experiences from their point of view.

Another initiative, "Schools Voice", involved surveys of 11- to 13-year-olds sat three schools around the city, as well as in-school group work by youth charity The Enthusiasm Trust.

In Merseyside and Cheshire, projects are under way to build community resilience to serious organised crime.

In Speke, members of the "Speke-Up" community group held a competition to select innovative projects to receive a share of a £26,000 funding pot. Similar events are planned for Runcorn and Widnes later this year.

Local police are already working with faith-based community charity Redeem our Communities (ROC) and held community consultation events known as "ROC conversations" attended by around 200 local residents, partners and local businesses.

At these, members of the community highlighted their concerns as well as making people aware of assets available to the community to facilitate social action projects, such as cash, people, transport and venues. 

Meanwhile in Bradford, Community Cougars Foundation (CCF) is using sport to reach young people, helping them to understand risk, and strengthen their resilience.

Its four-week programme works with local schools to offer rugby coaching sessions.

CCF backs this up with workshops that raise awareness of issues such as County Lines, anti-social behaviour, child sexual exploitation, grooming and cyber crime.

These initiatives were included in the government's latest SOC Local Partnerships Bulletin, which has been developed to share good practice in preventing serious and organised crime across government, police and the public, private and voluntary sectors.

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