Working together to tackle those who target the vulnerable

Cllr Bill BentleyORGANISED crime, modern slavery, scams and fraud were on the agenda as partners from across East Sussex came together for a conference on community safety.

The Safer People Safer Places event was a chance for members of the multi-agency East Sussex Safer Communities Partnership to come together and discuss their strategy for protecting the vulnerable.

Topics on the agenda included ‘cuckooing’ – where criminals take over the homes of vulnerable people to use as a base for drug dealing, and ‘county lines’, where young people are exploited to sell drugs in rural towns and cities.

The event brought together representatives from 42 different services including local councils, the emergency services, the health, education and voluntary sectors and the armed forces.

The conference outlined the partnership’s priorities for the year ahead – protecting victims of fraud and rogue trading and vulnerable people exploited by crime gangs, and tackling cybercrime and modern slavery.

The audience heard talks on organised crime and human trafficking from Sussex Police and the charity Stop The Traffik and on scams and frauds from East Sussex Trading Standards and home care provider Home Instead Senior Care Eastbourne and Hailsham.

Meanwhile, the conference also heard from the Sussex Armed Forces Network on its safeguarding work cases and the Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner on the commissioner’s plans and priorities for the year ahead.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Cllr Bill Bentley, East Sussex County Council lead member for communities and safety, said: “This was another successful event which brought together expertise from a wide range of sectors.

“The threat posed to vulnerable people by organised criminal gangs through tactics such as cuckooing is significant, and is something which cannot be tackled by one agency alone.

“It’s vital that all members of the partnership pool their resources and work together to tackle these threats, so we can support vulnerable people in our communities and ensure they can feel safe and confident in their everyday lives.”

The Safer People Safer Places event was held at the View Hotel, in Eastbourne, on Wednesday, June 20 2018. More information about the work of the Safer Communities Partnership can be found at