Gangs: Exploitation of Vulnerable People

Attorney General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th May 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan Conservative, Chichester 12:00 am, 10th May 2018

What steps the CPS is taking to increase its effectiveness in prosecuting crimes involving the exploitation of vulnerable people by gangs.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

What steps the CPS is taking to increase its effectiveness in prosecuting crimes involving the exploitation of vulnerable people by gangs.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

The exploitation of vulnerable people to traffic drugs across the country through county lines activity is abhorrent, and the CPS does consider modern slavery legislation when it comes to relevant charging decisions.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan Conservative, Chichester

In Chichester, drug dealers are regularly taking over the homes of vulnerable people who suffer from mental health problems or from drug dependency themselves in a process known as cuckooing. Sussex police tell me that they struggle to identify the gang leaders who control the cuckoos as they are based outside the county. What steps is the CPS taking to prosecute those gang leaders effectively so that others are deterred from exploiting the most vulnerable in society?

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue of cuckooing and the need for local police forces such as Sussex to collaborate with other forces. A good example was a case last month in which two London-based gang members were convicted in Swansea Crown court of trafficking a teenage girl to the city to deal heroin and crack cocaine.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

Essex, being one of the home counties, suffers from the displacement effect of gang activity from London, and we have unfortunately seen pockets—it is only pockets at this stage—of violent gang activity in the county. What financial resources are the Government allocating to tackle serious gang violence?

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend has correctly characterised the nature of some of this gang offending. The Government’s serious violence strategy involves a new commitment of £40 million over two years, which includes £11 million for the early intervention youth fund and £3.6 million for the new national county lines co-ordination centre.