Venue: Ashburton Hall, Elizabeth II Court (Podium)
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Welcome and Announcements - Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council
Councillor Perry welcomed partners and gave an update on the Hampshire County Council (HCC) Brexit preparations. The Local Resilience Forum had been looking into implications for the county, in particular traffic and transport, including the potential impact on ports and major highways. However, at the time of the Partnership meeting, nothing was certain with Brexit negotiations in Parliament still to be concluded.
Councillor Perry provided an update on the Hampshire 2050 Commission of Inquiry (the CoI) and outlined that further hearings had taken place gathering some useful evidence from across the county. Partners were encouraged to submit evidence via the Commission web page if they had not already done so. Councillor Perry proposed that an extraordinary meeting of HCC be arranged in September 2019 to review the outcomes of the CoI, followed by an update for Partners at the Partnership meeting on 22 October 2019.
Finally, Councillor Perry confirmed that it was his intention to stand down as Leader of HCC at the County Council AGM on 17 May 2019. After May, Councillor Perry noted that he would continue his in role as a councillor for the Romsey Rural Division until May 2021 .
County-lines gangs - the threat of serious organised crime and the exploitation of children
Steve Crocker, Director of Children’s Services introduced this item as one of eight strategic community safety priorities for Hampshire which had been agreed by the Hampshire County Strategy Group for Community Safety (CSG) in its Strategic Assessment. At its meeting on 11 March, the CSG had considered the safety risk from county lines gangs, serious organised crime and child exploitation. In line with statutory responsibilities, the CSG was in the process of conducting an assurance and development review in relation to each of the county-wide priorities in formulating a County Agreement between partners.
The other priorities referenced were:
Members of the Hampshire Partnership received a presentation on county lines and the threat of serious organised crime and child exploitation by representatives of the Hampshire Constabulary and the HCC’s Children’s Services.
The concept of ‘county lines’ was explained as when criminals from major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham expand their drug networks to other areas of the country. Adults operating in organised gangs and networks were deliberately targeted and grooming vulnerable children and incited violence, exploitation and abuse. Partners heard how child exploitation was considered a genuine issue taking place not only within larger urban areas and cities inside, and outside, Hampshire, but also throughout rural areas.
The Hampshire collaborative approach to tackling child exploitation was highlighted, including the strategic response headed through four local safeguarding boards and the work of the Willow Team and MET Police Team.
Partners heard how some children were particularly vulnerable to becoming involved in county lines come from a variety of backgrounds. The influencing factors – referred to as ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors – which had an impact upon child exploitation were outlined as set out on slide 13 of the pack. Examples of groups vulnerable to grooming included looked after children, children absent from school, temporarily excluded from school or in pupil referral units, and those with risky or chaotic homes who may be involved in a range of services. It was noted that the recreational use of drugs by adults across the socio economic spectrum was a driver for organised criminal activity which was directly connected to exploitation, violence and other aspects of criminality.
It was noted how the use of technology was becoming more prevalent and children were also being enticed with gifts and cash to gain their trust. The presentation outlined the mapping work already conducted to identify drug networks and organised crime gangs. Whilst this was an evolving national and regional threat the ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
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John Coughlan provided Partners with an overview of the County Council’s Transformation to 2019 and Transformation to 2021 programmes. Partners were interested to hear how the County Council was taking an innovative and forward thinking view, transforming its services to ensure that they remained fit for purpose and effective as well as how services were looking to generate income to become more sustainable in the future.