Essex VVU awarded over £1million in the fight against County Lines
The Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit has been awarded £1,160,000 from the Home Office to continue its work to tackle County Lines and support young, vulnerable people from criminal exploitation.
The funding, which is for 2021/22, is a share of £35.5million which has been awarded to the 18 Violence Reduction Units operating across England and Wales in areas worst affected by serious violence. It is the third year of Home Office funding and takes the total invested in Violence Reduction Units to more than £105 million.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex and Chair of the Violence and Vulnerability Unit said:
“Violence has no place in our society. We must tackle violence at its root cause and work with the public and partners to create the safe and secure communities we all want and which allow all of us to flourish and prosper.
“Gangs that exploit people and coerce them into a life of crime are preying on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. While no agency can tackle this alone, in Essex we know that working together, through our Violence and Vulnerability Unit, can turn the tide against these gangs, protect the vulnerable and help to ensure we all live prosperous and productive lives.
“Protecting children and vulnerable people from harm and tackling gangs and serious violence are priorities in our Police and Crime Plan and they are important to the people of Essex who want to make sure their young people are protected and that violent activity is removed from our communities.
“In Essex we are making progress by using multi-agency prevention activities focussed on positive activities for young people, mentoring programmes and interventions at ‘reachable’ moments – all delivered in partnership with police, councils, health, education, criminal justice agencies, faith groups, voluntary organisations, fire & rescue and the community sector. This work is backed up and supported through a strong surge in enforcement by Essex Police.
“The announcement this week that the Essex VVU will receive funding in 2021/22 validates the work we are doing and the inroads we are making to make our communities safer.”
The Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit carries out joint operations, interventions, awareness campaigns and education programmes to support young people who are being, or at risk of being, exploited and involved in crime.
The Unit works with professionals to educate them on the signs of exploitation, funds youth work and community groups to run and create targeted diversionary activities and programmes that steer young people away from crime and gang culture, and carries out research and data analysis which informs and supports prevention programmes and health intervention programmes
It was set up in 2019 following a successful bid by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex to the Home Office Early Intervention Youth Fund for additional funding to tackle the growing threat of County Lines.
The Unit, which is mainly focused on gangs, county lines and child criminal and sexual exploitation, is a multi-agency partnership, bringing together Essex Police, the PFCC, Youth Offending Services, Probation Service, Councils, voluntary sector and Health to share information, tackle crime and safeguard vulnerable victims.