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Scheme extended that puts support worker with exploitation team

A pilot of the scheme has just been completed and it’s been confirmed that it will continue for another year.

75 exploited young people were protected through a nine month pilot of the scheme which aims to encourage individuals to report abuse and exploitation. 

The initiative sees a Barnardo’s support worker sit within the force’s Complex Exploitation Team as a way of both supporting children and young people to speak out, as well as helping staff to engage with them. 

During the pilot the Barnardo’s CET worker gave advice to officers, carried out home visits and attended police and local authority meetings - they engaged with 75 children, 55 of whom were male and 20 female. 

Most of the boys were linked by intelligence to child criminal exploitation, including county lines, all of the girls were linked to CSE. 

Funding initially came from a £232,027 bid to the Home Office’s Child Sexual Abuse Transformation Fund. 

Now further funding has been agreed by Cleveland from Home Office-backed Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recover- ADDER is a joint Home Office and Health and Social Care programme aimed at tackling drug misuse). 

Steve Turner, Cleveland PCC, said: “You cannot underestimate the importance of the work of CET.

“Not only do they help to protect some of the most vulnerable in our communities, but their work helps police gather intelligence to stop the activities of some of the most dangerous people in our communities.

“I am pleased that the Government funding my team secured allowed us to employ the Barnardo’s worker, whose work has proved to be such a great success.”

Chief Inspector Jon Tapper, who heads Project Adder, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to support these vulnerable people as well as disrupting criminal activity.

“This specialist role will be invaluable in supporting the ongoing work to tackle drugs under Project Adder.”

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