Safer Buckinghamshire Plan 2020-2023
Priority 2: Protecting vulnerable adults and children
Why is it a priority?
The largest increase in crime in Buckinghamshire in the last five years has been in violent crime (+133%) and public disorder (+133%).
Serious violence has a negative impact on individuals, communities and the county as a whole. It stops people feeling safe and affects their wellbeing. We also know that traumatic and negative experiences, especially in childhood, can have a lasting effect and make someone more vulnerable to harm in later life.
Extremism causes harm to individuals and whole communities. The rise of hate, intolerance and violence has a great impact on community tensions and unity. It affects the quality of life and well- being of those targeted.
Thames Valley Police has the second highest number of reported incidents of modern slavery in the country. Modern slavery is often called a hidden crime so an increase in reporting may be due to increased public awareness of the issue.
Reports of child abuse and exploitation have not changed greatly. They continue to be a significant concern.
Vulnerable adults and children are often the target of exploitation. This can include physical, sexual or financial criminal acts. ‘County lines’ gang activity can lead to anti-social behaviour and violence. It can also raise safeguarding concerns. ‘County lines’ is the practice of drug dealers from one area setting up in another areas and targeting vulnerable people.
There are clear links between exploitation, modern slavery and trafficking. These crimes form part of a wider exploitation agenda.
What we plan to do
Prevention and early help
- Improve information and intelligence sharing to identify potential victims at a much earlier stage.
- Take swift action where a person is at immediate risk of exploitation.
- Provide constructive activities to distract those at high risk.
- Provide awareness training for frontline workers to give them confidence to take responsibility for reporting their concerns.
- Work with communities to improve general awareness of the signs of child and adult exploitation and what action to take. Improve the confidence of victims to report issues.
- Encourage local community groups to work together to combat exploitation of vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with special needs.
- Improve cross-boundary relationships and sharing of information to tackle modern slavery and exploitation.
- Work together to reduce the number of children and young people who go missing and the risk of harm caused to them. Provide improved support and guidance to missing children and their families and carers.
- Provide protection in places where vulnerable people are often targeted. This includes pupil referral units and residential children’s care homes. We will also use our knowledge to target emerging hotspots.
- Provide support for individuals who are vulnerable to radicalisation and extremism leading to terrorism. Support projects and events which build unity and offer a positive alternative to extremism.
- Create greater awareness and understanding of the techniques to exploit people online.
- Implement the Buckinghamshire Violence Reduction Plan to reduce serious violence. We will intervene as early as possible to prevent people being drawn into violent crime, either as victims or offenders.
- Support the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit’s pilot projects in Buckinghamshire. We will expand the learning from the pilots into other key locations in Buckinghamshire.
- Promote alternatives to young people at risk of being drawn into serious organised crime that may include violence.
- Explore all opportunities for schools to promote anti-discrimination practice through the curriculum. We will also support schools in their duties to promote community cohesion and equalities.
- Produce public information which makes it clear what hate crime is and how to respond to it as a victim, witness or a concerned person.