Kent has seen a decline in the number of County Lines gangs operating over the last six years from a one-time high of 80 to 37 in spring 2022. However, Kent’s proximity to both London and the coast means it will always be targeted by those seeking to exploited and abuse.
Because of that, the PCC commissions specialist services to provide support for youngsters who've been victims of abuse or exploitation across Kent and Medway. He also commissions services to prevent vulnerable young people becoming victims, as well as services which promote positive role models and outcomes.
Long term mentoring for prevent and protect cohorts
Universal, age appropriate messaging to CYP In school and youth settings covering healthy relationships, attitudes, behaviours and safety, On line harms and cycer safety.
Universal, age appropriate messaging to CYP in school and youth settings covering gangs and county lines, Violence, knife crime and Criminal exploitation
Cookham Wood Pilot Project - £25,000 (Kent PCC funding)
In April 2019 the Prime Ministers Serious Youth Violence Summit identified the need to deliver a more joined up approach to reducing re-offending of young people in custody settings. Recognising that these young people are also likely to be victims and that effective support should be provided to support them both as a victim and offender. The MOJ identified Cookham Wood as the pilot site, and we began to work collaboratively with the MOJ and the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) to develop this approach.
There are 3 strands to the pilot,
Building capacity within the Young Offenders Institute (YOI) to help staff identify victimisation and how to respond.
Implement a Through the Gate Service, which works with identified young people for 8 weeks (4 weeks prior to release and 4 weeks following release). The aim is to provide mentoring support to assist young people in recognising their needs and help them move on in the community. This also involves working with relevant community-based support services.
Upskilling existing support services on victimisation and offending.
Whilst this project continues to deliver initial positive outcomes achieved include,
Training package for the YOI staff has been finalised and awaiting delivery.
The Through the Gate Service has been tendered and awarded to Open Road, which mobilised at the end of the financial year for delivery in 22/23.