30 November, 2021
Since 2018, Forbes Solicitors have been focusing upon the role of Registered Housing Providers when tackling organised crime in our neighbourhoods.
We have worked closely with a number of Police Forces throughout the UK to raise awareness, gain an understanding of threat levels and operational responses within each region.
Earlier this year, we teamed up with renowned Dublin-based criminologist, community activist and social commentator Trina O'Connor to extend the reach of this process and develop partnership links with Irish colleagues as the impact of organised crime crosses international boundaries. Social Housing residents are often at risk of exploitation at the hands of criminal gangs therefore we were keen to learn more about the approaches used by relevant agencies in a neighbouring country given that the lives of individuals, families and young people in both nations are often destroyed by the actions of these complex and well-established networks.
On Wednesday 17th November 2021, we hosted the first of our UK / Ireland Housing & Organised Crime Webinars. This brought together a range of professionals including senior representatives from UK, Police and An Garda Siochana (Ireland's National Police & Security Service) who shared valuable insight into strategic responses, tactical operations and community engagement.
Housing Practitioners were able to highlight the huge contribution that they can make to the investigative, case management process and hence why it is critical that they have a place around the table going forward. The central theme of "risk to residents and communities" was underpinned by the sharing of research studies from academics at Liverpool John Moores, Maynooth and Limerick Universities around the exploitation of young people. This included obtaining personal accounts from young people has to how and why they became involved in criminal gangs, safeguarding issues and restorative approaches to help them try to exit this particular lifestyle.
The personal impact of organised crime was further explored by the UK Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery Partnership as well as leading Drug & Alcohol Recovery Project, Ana Liffey. We also heard powerful lived experience about what it's like to be forced to stay in a trap house hundreds of miles away from home. This event was endorsed by a joint address from the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Deputy Mayor for Police & Crime of West Yorkshire.
As a result of this webinar and ongoing consultation, we have identified lots of scope to move forward with this process through building upon existing best practice and developing joint initiatives where similar issues are encountered in our towns, cities and rural localities throughout the UK and Ireland.
We are planning to host a full day, workshop-based conference in the Spring of 2022 to drill down further into these issues. Further information will follow. If anyone is interested in finding out more and / or would like to get involved in this process, please contact Darren Burton (Head of Housing Consultancy Services - E-mail: Darren.Burton@forbessolicitors.co.uk) We will also be hosting a "Cuckooing Conference" in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester Police in February 2022.
For more information contact Darren Burton in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01257 240827. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.
Learn more about our Housing & Regeneration department here