Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Crime in Thurrock” ‘We need to talk about children from London boroughs”

CHILDREN sent to Thurrock by social services in London boroughs are contributing to rising crime a councillor has said.

Barry Johnson, councillor responsible for education and children’s social care said herding looked after young people out of London boroughs is a growing problem for the borough reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

He said: “We need to talk to London boroughs about this and say before you send them to Thurrock or Southend think twice because it isn’t necessarily helping by sending them here.

“We are so near to London they just hop on a train. We need to have a conversation with the London Boroughs because sending someone here to say keep them away from gang crime is helping.

”It has been apparent for some time that London boroughs are transferring their troubled children to get them away from gang culture. They transfer them to Thurrock quite legally but need to have a discussion about it.”

Mr Johnson added: “Thurrock is not far from London boroughs. It’s 25 minutes away and they can visit their friends and come back again. I’m not saying we don’t want them here but to think about it. Think where it is safer for them to be.

“We are now monitoring more offences. They are creeping up in the borough and it is quite clear that some offenders are children from elsewhere. Thurrock is not a culture change for them. We are just half an hour down the road.

“It needs to be considered on a case by case basis.”

Southend has also been singled out by London boroughs as a good place to send troubled youngsters.

Laurie Burton, Southend councillor responsible for children and learning, said:  “We always try to place looked after children as close to home as possible. London boroughs will do the same, but are faced with housing pressures so some will be placed outside London, including in Southend.

“Where young people are placed in Southend from London, we work with London boroughs to ensure their needs are met in Southend. Where a young person may have been placed in Southend to get away from nefarious influences, we would work with the police and other services to make sure that young person receives support, to ensure Southend is a fresh start for them.”

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