Safer Stronger Communities Board awarded £1.4m

Published28th November 2023

Suffolk Public Sector Leaders (SPSL) group have unanimously agreed to award the Safer Stronger Communities Board (SSCB) funds to continue work which tackles Criminal Exploitation in Suffolk.

The funds will support several initiatives as part of the new programme, which builds on the work that has already taken place.

Criminal Exploitation includes a broad series of inter-related issues, including crimes involving drugs, violence, modern slavery, missing persons, and ‘home grown drug dealing’.

Multi-agency working, and these additional funds, bring together the resource needed to prevent young and vulnerable people from being drawn into criminal exploitation, support those already entangled to exit safely, as well as enforce a zero-tolerance policy against those committing associated crimes.

This funding will help join up efforts across multiple organisations ensuring that the programme compliments, adds value and doesn’t duplicate existing activity.

Councillor Neil MacDonald, Chair, Suffolk Public Sector Leaders, says:

“The Criminal Exploitation in Suffolk, the Safer Stronger Communities Board (SSCB) continue to work tirelessly to create safe environments for everyone in Suffolk.

With the current programme coming to an end in March 2024, this next round of funding will support an extension of efforts through to 2027, which is essential to build on the great work that has already been delivered.”

Councillor Bobby Bennett, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities, and chair of the Safer Stronger Communities Board, says:

“The £1.4m investment agreed by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders will support a countywide programme of work to tackle criminal exploitation across Suffolk. 

Criminal Exploitation is a complex and serious issue that is not unique to Suffolk and sadly it remains a constant threat to our young people, our vulnerable adults, and our communities.

It seems timely with the national White Ribbon campaign, which launched at the weekend, aiming to end men’s violence against women, that we recognise the devastating and life changing impact criminal exploitation can have on all young people.

We recognise the importance of tackling complex issues as a whole system. The new programme of work is rooted in early identification and intervention, which crucially allows interaction and engagement from organisations across the whole of Suffolk, be it voluntary, public or private sector. It is designed so that we have the greatest reach possible to anyone and everyone who can play their part in helping to tackle the issue.”