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Acting Commissioner commits funds to keep young people ‘Safe’

YOUNG people at moderate and significant risk of criminal exploitation and violence will continue to have access to a team of specialist workers following a funding pledge by the Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby.  

The ‘Safe Team’ which is part of the county’s Youth Offending Service was set up in 2019 with Home Office funding. It provides a team of ‘trusted’ professionals to engage with young people with complex needs. The workers support the young people to remove themselves from risky environments and lifestyles and therefore reduce the likelihood of them getting involved in exploitation and crime, either as a victim or offender.

The additional funding from both the Acting Police and Crime Commissioner and Local Authority will enable the service to continue its work until March 2022 while a longer term approach is agreed.

“I am passionate about ensuring vulnerable young people can be supported to make the right choices in their lives,” said Acting Commissioner Ray Bisby. “This is why I am keen that the Youth Offending Service use this next year to fully review the continued impact of the service.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) was awarded £384,431 in 2019/20, to fund the Safe Team, as part of the Home Office’s Early Intervention Youth Fund. Since then 67 young people have engaged with this support. An evaluation has shown offending and missing from home incidents have halved as a result.   

The Acting Commissioner has contributed £250k to the delivery of the service in 2021/22; funding which had previously been committed to the progression of prevention workstreams which were delayed by the pandemic.  

The Acting Commissioner added: “I have heard first hand from the Safe Team how they are developing their approach to engaging vulnerable young people. It is a somewhat unique situation to have access to this amount of funding and I am pleased to be able to support the local authority to extend the program until March 2022, whilst we further evaluate impact.”

Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans, Chair of Youth Justice Management Board said:

“The Safe Team and Cambridgeshire Police METHub work cohesively together to safeguard vulnerable young children who are at risk of exploitation. The work carried out by the Safe Team is invaluable at managing early intervention and seeking to prevent any child becoming a victim of any form of exploitation.

“The close ties developed with Cambridgeshire Police ensure that the correct signposting for appropriate support services and continued safeguarding can be effective and promote wellbeing in the children they engage with.”

Lou Williams, Service Director, Children & Safeguarding, Peterborough City & Cambridgeshire County Councils said:

“We are delighted the OPCC has agreed to support the Local Authority with extended funding for the Safe Team. Robust monitoring is evidencing early indications of effectiveness in respect of young people’s safety, reduced involvement in crime and exploitation.

“We are also starting to see an encouraging impact on engagement in education and other positive outcomes for young people. This extension will allow further evaluation of sustained outcomes over a longer period. We look forward to continuing to work with partners to reduce the impact of offending and exploitation for young people and the community.”