Educating Cumbria

25th April 2023 | County Lines

The Clewer Initiative

We spoke to Paul Cavagin of Cumbria Police about how resources from The Clewer Initiative are helping educate local children around the county.

Cumbria Police has made significant headway over the last two years in preventing and tackling county lines.

Education has been a key part of the Police strategy to drive out county lines. Paul Cavagin, serious and organised crime prevention officer from Cumbria Police, explains more:

How did you get involved in developing County Lines schools’ material with The Clewer Initiative?

The Deputy Head of a Pupil Referral Unit asked me if I knew of any county lines resources suitable for young people. I was conscious that speaking to teenagers would require totally different language and content to what I use with adults and as I looked around, there didn’t seem to be any suitable resources.

Initially I was directed towards The Clewer Initiative by a colleague due to the work they were doing in combating Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and County Lines. As a result, I attended a Breaking County Lines (BCL) course. I wasn’t the average delegate on a BCL course as I work in the field every day and know a lot about current trends, and issues, but I was impressed by The Clewer’s training materials. I provided some input on how the team could adapt the BCL material so it would be suitable for a secular audience such as the police and then I asked if they would consider writing something for secondary schools. Together we have created three lesson plans - the resources include all the information a teacher would need including handouts, links to films, PowerPoints, activities, and case studies.

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How have you used the material so far?

I went through the process of getting the material looked at by the Education Board in Cumbria, so they are fully on board and supportive of the resources. Our goal is that every child in a school in Cumbria will get some sort of input on County Lines. I have emailed every school in the county (350+) and so far, 50 per cent have responded with interest. It is a very long process getting the material into schools because teachers and timetables are so stretched. To date, three schools and one PRU have used the material in full. Other schools have adapted it and used it differently. I don’t mind how schools use it, so long as we are getting the message out to children.

What feedback have you had?

The feedback has been very good. The children have been asking questions and engaged. I am really excited about the potential for the material to be used widely.

The materials and activities were appropriate for the children's ages and engaging. The children enjoyed the videos as it shared real life scenarios. Overall, the sessions were very impactful - we believe that they would benefit other children, particularly other vulnerable children.

Deputy Headteacher
North of England

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