The PCC has chosen to commission the St Giles Trust charity to help divert young people away from exploitation and county lines.

He said: 'This money allows us to look at diverting more young people at risk of exploitation by county lines gangs away from criminality and abuse; and better supporting young people who come into contact with the police to try and prevent future offending. There is also scope to improve our links with local schools to deliver more effective crime prevention messages.’

This work includes:

  • One-to-one intervention work with vulnerable young people who are involved in anti-social behaviour, at risk of criminalisation, or exploitation. This intervention work was first piloted in East Kent around county lines; but has now been extended to the North and West of the county too.
  • Schools work, delivering sessions to groups of young people, parents and carers. These provide educational messages on subjects including county lines, gangs, child sexual exploitation and knife crime – delivered by facilitators with lived experience of these issues.

A leaflet helping families spot the signs of exploitation has been produced which members of the public can download for their own use.

A separate Police Custody Liaison project receives funding from the Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit.