County Lines and criminal exploitation awareness events for parents
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Free County Lines and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) awareness events are being made available to parents and carers living in Northamptonshire during May, July and October this year – the next online session is planned for Tuesday 17 May, 7pm-8:30pm.
These interactive, virtual events are funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC), and enables participants to learn more about how to keep their children safe from criminals who exploit, coerce, control, manipulate and use children and young people for illegal purposes.
The webinars are an opportunity for parents and carers to hear from a panel of experts about what criminal exploitation is, how to spot signs it may be happening to their child and how to seek help.
Learn what county lines is
Understand what is happening in your local area
Understand the signs that your child might be at risk
Learn how offenders groom and exploit children
The audience also has the opportunity to ask questions, share concerns and connect with others.
The events are hosted by PACE (Parents Against Child Exploitation) and feature speakers from Northamptonshire Police, Barnardo’s, OPFCC and PACE.
Detective Sergeant Adrian Sharpe from Northamptonshire Police said: “We want parents and carers to be able recognise the signs of child exploitation and know what to do if they suspect a child is at risk.
“We held a couple of these sessions in Northamptonshire earlier this year, and they were enormously popular and successful. The feedback we got afterwards from parents was extremely positive, with 91% telling us they were now much better informed as a result.
“Sadly, Child Criminal Exploitation can take many forms and is a growing issue across the UK, and it is happening right here in Northamptonshire.
“It doesn’t really matter where you’re from or your social background, children from any community can be groomed into County Lines.
“We have experts on the panel who can help and advise parents and provide support for young people at risk of gang involvement and those who may be vulnerable to child exploitation.”
County Lines is a form of criminal exploitation in which criminals groom and manipulate children into committing illegal or criminal acts on their behalf, such as drug dealing – meaning the youngsters do most of the work and take the most risk. The 'lines' refer to mobile phones that are used to control a young person who is delivering drugs, often to towns outside their home county.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “I am really pleased parents will be able to access these valuable webinars. I want as many parents, carers, and professionals who work with children and young people as possible, to be aware of this information.
By increasing awareness and explaining County Lines and child exploitation, it will help everyone to spot the signs, be more responsive to the issues, and help us to better protect the young from criminals who aim to manipulate and prey on their innocence and vulnerability.”