An award of £527,573 has been given to Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Matthew Scott, to fund a major project that tackles the root causes of serious violence among children and young people
The project will involve different schemes tackling gangs, county lines and exploitation in Kent. Among those already working in Thanet is the St Giles Trust which, since September 2017, has been helping east Kent youngsters exit ‘gang’ operations.
County Lines gangs are criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line” who are adapting their business model to snare local children and teens as mules in a bid to operate under the radar and reduce costs.
The cash award has been made by the Home Office.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “In order to put an end to this senseless violence we must have a long-term plan that stops young people from turning to a life of crime in the first place.
“That’s why our Serious Violence Strategy combines both early intervention with tough law enforcement.
“This money will play a vital role in providing vulnerable young people in Kent with support and opportunities that will steer them away from a life of crime.”
Matthew Scott, Kent PCC, said: “While Kent has not experienced the same levels of serious violence as inner cities have in recent months, we have our own unique challenges linked to county lines activity operating out of London and other areas.
“This money has the potential to do so much good work in addressing some of the underlying issues in our communities which can later lead to violence. It allows us to look at diverting more young people at risk of exploitation from 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.”
The funding for Kent is drawn from the final £3.3 million allocation of the government’s Early Intervention Youth Fund.
The news comes after the Home Secretary today chaired another Serious Violence Taskforce to discuss the importance of early intervention youth projects. The taskforce was also attended by Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, and Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service.
The Home Secretary also announced an additional £1.5 million of funding for the third year of the Anti-Knife Crime Community Fund.
The money will go towards community projects to reduce knife crime and have a positive impact on young people at risk of carrying a knife and committing crime.