A major conference to raise awareness of the factors which lead to vulnerability and the links which exist to serious and organised crime has taken place today (Tuesday 19 September) in Warwickshire.
Organised by the Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and Warwickshire Police, the conference at Dunchurch Park Hotel near Rugby saw more than 120 delegates from frontline policing, social services, housing, healthcare, education and local government challenged to ‘look beyond the obvious’ when working in the community.
The day gave practical information for those working at grassroots level on how to identify, refer and deal with concerns in relation to what vulnerability is and how that relates to serious and organised crime groups operating in and impacting on Warwickshire.
The event was opened by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, with guest speakers including Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson, (Serious and Organised Crime lead for Merseyside Police) and Superintendent Scott Jones from the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit. Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley gave the closing address.
Delegates were asked to ‘be curious, ask questions, look, listen, observe, reflect and then act on their professional judgement’ when working in local communities, in order to disrupt and deter serious and organised crime and ensure that the vulnerable people being exploited receive the right protection and support.
The afternoon session also saw the delegates contribute to the development of area-based action plans to tackle serious and organised crime. Further online training is also being developed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to assist practitioners in future.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “Today’s event is the culmination of around a year’s work by my office, police and partner agencies to work more closely together to tackle the issues caused by serious and organised crime in the county.
“The presentations showed how vulnerable people can inadvertently be drawn into crime, for example through people trafficking, modern slavery, child sexual exploitation or as a result of their dependencies on drugs and alcohol. What we want to get out of today is for the delegates to listen and learn and then take back the practical knowledge they’ve gained to their own organisations, share that learning widely and put it into practice out in the community.”
Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “Sometimes the most vulnerable in society are exploited by criminals and brought inadvertently into crime, so the conference today is about raising partner awareness of the connections that exist with serious and organised crime and strengthening the already good links we have to ensure that we can all tackle it as effectively as possible.
“We have strong relationships with partners here in Warwickshire already and there has been a lot of leadership shown by the Commissioner’s office in bringing people together through the Serious and Organised Crime Joint Action Group. I’m really proud of what has been achieved to date but there can be no sense of resting on our collective laurels. We want to move forward and be stronger and, ultimately, our overarching ambition is to become great at protecting the most vulnerable in our communities within Warwickshire.”