“Councils’ youth offending teams have an exceptional record of reducing youth crime and making a real difference to young people’s lives, but they are under huge pressure after seeing their government funding halved over the last decade."
Responding to a survey from The Children’s Society that finds four in five parents and carers are worried about county lines in their local areas, Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said:
“The harrowing exploitation of children and young people by county lines drugs gangs is a significant and increasing concern for councils who are working hard to identity and protect those at risk of abuse.
“However, to robustly tackle serious violence requires multi-agency working across a range of partners, including health, education, local councils, the police and the voluntary sector.
“Many of the current Violence Reduction Units set up are making in-roads on identifying and tackling county lines – but this needs to be on a national basis if it’s going to have a real impact.
“Councils’ youth offending teams have an exceptional record of reducing youth crime and making a real difference to young people’s lives, but they are under huge pressure after seeing their government funding halved over the last decade.
“Council-run youth services also have a vital role to play in helping young people avoid being drawn into harmful and dangerous situations. However, these services too have seen funding reduced, by more than two-thirds in real terms since 2010, which means limited funding for prevention work is being diverted into services to protect children who are at immediate risk of harm.
“We want to work with government to help it understand these pressures and how it can provide appropriate funding for children and youth services to prevent children from being exploited and ensure the right support is available for all young people, whatever their needs. We also echo the Children’s Society’s call for a national campaign to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation.”