We asked Detective Inspector Anne Rannard, National County Lines Coordination Centre Protect lead to share her perspective on forming strategic anti-slavery partnerships and how they can help in the fight against county lines.
From the Police’s perspective, what does a healthy partnership look like?
A willingness to engage from both sides, a commitment to work together, potentially a Memorandum of Understanding to outline the aims and objectives of the partnership. The partnership must have good lines of communication and be a two-way flow of information. It is essential to show how information received from our partners in the community results in significant policing outcomes.
How does a healthy partnership help the police in combating county lines?
Partners are the eyes and ears within our communities. Our partners will see and hear things that can significantly improve our understanding of problems and the wishes of communities. Our partners can support us in providing relevant information and intelligence so we can utilise our powers and resources most effectively to target those individuals who are causing harm and identify and support potential victims. They can also significantly assist with prevention and diversion programmes and support and engage the community. If we achieve healthy partnerships, we can become more effective in collectively pooling our resources to achieve the best outcomes.
From a police perspective, we are often focussed on how we can pursue offenders and enforce the law, but this is not always the only way, or necessarily the best way of addressing an issue.
How should community projects / churches go about forging a partnership with the local police? What sort of steps should they take?
I would recommend identifying any forums within your communities that are attended by the police. Attend or contact your local police station and ask to speak to your local or neighbourhood policing team. When you have these conversations, you can discuss your ideas and build relationships with your community policing team and discuss the best way of reporting information and supporting existing initiatives. If you have any issues doing this, you could contact the police force’s community engagement team through 101.
What sort of intelligence can local people provide the Police?
Local people can assist by identifying potential vulnerable individuals who may be being exploited. They can provide information about potential offenders, offenders’ vehicles, problem locations, information regarding how children and vulnerable people are being recruited, information regarding what drugs lines are operating and much more. If something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t, so report it. If people don’t want to report things directly to the police, they can use Crime Stoppers which is anonymous.
Do you have any other insight / tips about good collaborative working?
It all comes down to good lines of communication and enthusiasm to achieve outcomes. Once you have these ingredients, good things usually happen.