PCC highlights need for public awareness of gang-related crime in communities
The public needs to be more aware of the gang-related crime and paedophile rings operating across the country, according to the APCC’s national lead on serious and organised crime.
Donna Jones, the elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, said: “Crime gangs are operating from residential properties in every city and most large towns across the UK. Often they are running their networks next door to, or in the same street as, the very people - adults and children - they wish to harm or exploit.
“Raising awareness is not about scaring or frightening people, but ensuring people know the signs to look out for; how to report any intel, including anonymously through Crimestoppers; and to manage expectations of policing as a public service as we go into the next decade with increasing demand on the police and law enforcement agencies.”
Commissioner Jones was speaking at the Serious and Organised Crime Exchange Conference, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
She said: “In the six months I have been a PCC, I’ve been struck by the public’s lack of understanding or awareness of most serious and organised criminality being committed across communities in Britain. Kidnappings, stabbings, brothels, paedophile rings, cybercrime, and large scale frauds to name a few are taking place across the country, with most members of the public being totally unaware.
“My focus and determination is on raising awareness, nationally, of the harm and risks caused by these gangs and individuals.”
To that end, Commissioner Jones has been engaging with Government, the National Crime Agency, the Local Government Association, and fellow PCCs.
“We need to make sure every council leader, cabinet member, CEO, and Community Safety Partnership Manager, is aware of the harm caused by serious and organised crime, and what they can do about it. Children’s services departments, housing teams, and public health teams, all need to be sharing and coordinating information to spot exploitation and reduce harm”, she said.
“As a nation we can’t arrest our way out of these issues. That’s why policing needs key partners to step up and work with us to intervene early and prevent young people getting caught up in gangs, drugs supply and sexual exploitation.”
Thanking officers and staff for their efforts in tackling serious and organised crime, citing a murder investigation which led to nine convictions for conspiracy to supply class A drugs, Mrs Jones added: “Police officers and law enforcement agents are intent on catching the most violent and dangerous people in Britain today. My job as the APCC lead for serious and organised crime is to ensure you have the right tools to be able to do just that.
“I hope greater awareness of the levels of organised crime in communities means the public will help you to detect, apprehend, and bring to justice those criminals who cause us the most harm.”