THURROCK Council says it has been working with police to deter youngsters from getting involved in county lines drug gangs.
During the first quarter of 2022 there were 18 children in the Essex youth offending service system, two of who were in care in Thurrock.
At Thurrock’s corporate parenting committee meeting this week, Cllr Lee Watson asked what was being done to prevent young people being involved with London Gangs.
She said: “We are looking at Essex only but we’ve got the direct line going into London so are we also working with London?”
Clare Moore, Thurrock’s strategic lead for the youth offending service and prevention, said: “We’ve had a number of operations. One called Operation Henderson with Essex County Council, Southend, ourselves and Essex Police, community safety teams and British Transport Police where we’ve actually been targeting transport hubs across the borough, including Chafford Hundred and Grays stations where our youth workers have been getting on the trains, talking to young people, trying to understand why people are travelling in and out of London.
“We are also doing a piece of work around young people that are detained in custody at Grays Police Station that are actually from the metropolitan policing area to understand what they are doing, why are they here, are they running drug lines and also monitoring our young people.”
Ms Moore added: “If we’ve got concerns about a young person being exploited into county lines then we always alert the British Transport Police and the train stations to keep an eye on them.”
The council is also working on an “over-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic in the criminal justice system.
Ms Moore said: “We are monitoring very carefully our black, Asian and minority ethnic groups within the criminal justice system. We are going to ask these young people and their families to participate in a group with us so that we can understand a little bit more about what it means to be a young black male living in Thurrock and what it means to them to be part of the criminal justice system.
“So there is lots of work taking place to ensure we try and make the young people of Thurrock more equitable across the criminal justice system.”