Call For More Information Of Children At Risk Of Gang Indoctrination

Bradford Council’s Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee met on Wednesday.

Councillors have asked for police to provide more information on the children in Bradford at risk of being forced into criminality.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, members heard from police how children across the district were at risk of child criminal exploitation.

Such exploitation could be done by “county lines” gangs, city based gangs that use young people to transport and sell drugs in rural areas or small towns.

A report to the committee said 471 Bradford youths are connected to the city’s 51 organised criminal groups, although these connections could be living in a property used by gangs.

Councillor David Ward (Lib Dem/Independent, Bolton and Undercliffe) said more detail of the types of children at risk should be provided in future reports, including similar breakdowns of age, location and ethnicity seen in reports on Child Sexual Exploitation.

He added: “We need more detail. How many of these 471 children have been recently excluded from school, or have been in alternative provision?”

Detective Inspector Steve Greenbank from West Yorkshire Police said: “These figures are children who are linked to crime, it may be they frequent a household used by organised crime or they are a child of a family where someone is involved in crime.

“It doesn’t mean there are 471 children working in cannabis farms in Bradford.

“Identifying these children is a positive step, and we’re a step ahead of the game in identifying the problem. We work with social care workers to see how we can deal with these figures.”

The issue is dealt with in a similar way to Child Sexual Exploitation, with teams made up of police, Council staff and children’s charities.

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