24 February, 2021
Forbes' Merseyside County Lines & Social Housing Conference took place over two days on 9th and 10th February 2021 in conjunction with Merseyside Police.
With over 400 attendees across the two day conference, it was clear to see the importance of tackling cuckooing and county lines across the Social Housing sector. Whilst this event had a specific regional focus, we were also able to explore the national impact of these increasingly prominent issues. As a result of this, organisations from Cumbria down to Dorset and Hampshire were represented in variety of specialist roles including Housing Practitioners, Police Forces, Social Care, Legal Teams, Support Agencies, Charities and Universities.
As one of the UK's largest exporters of county lines, Merseyside has dealt with these challenges through a series of innovative and proactive approaches which combine a range of support, prevention and enforcement tools. Delegates were able to learn about a number of community-led initiatives in areas such as Speke and Sefton where gaining the trust of local people was integral to the intelligence gathering process and achieving positive outcomes. We were also able to hear first-hand accounts of major Police operations including "Operation Lamprey" which is held up as an example of best practice nationally.
The conference was able to demonstrate the effectiveness of multi-agency partnership working on Merseyside as well as a simple, practical approach to information sharing when it comes to tackling crime and keeping vulnerable people safe. This can often be a significant barrier for housing professionals as part of the case management process.
This event was actively endorsed by Assistant Chief Constable Ian Critchley and Police Commissioner Mrs. Jane Kennedy who highlighted the key role that Registered Housing Providers play when dealing with reports of Cuckooing and County Lines.
Forbes Solicitors continues to focus upon the impact of County Lines on our communities. Our conference series has already taken in the Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire regions so please let us know if we can support you to tackle this issue in your area. These conferences are proving to be a really useful way of sharing knowledge, experience and ideas and striving in achieve a consistent approach on before of housing professions.
Here is an example of some of the positive feedback that we have received from a Neighbourhood Safety Officer from a Merseyside-based Registered Housing Provider
"Well done all involved in this. Very informative and extremely useful information, not only in tackling County Lines but looking at other avenues like working with care leavers etc. I've took so much from this and it's opened my mind further to looking at these issues in a way that will change how I manage these cases going forward. I will be taking this back to the team and moving it forward within our neighbourhoods, working in partnership with external agencies. Thank you!"
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at Merseyside Police and all of the other agencies for making this event happen. If you would like any further information, Please contact Darren Burton (Head of Housing Consultancy Services) via e-mail at Darren.Burton@forbessolicitors.co.uk or Tel: 07976 265555