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House of Commons Hansard
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Gangs: Exploitation of Vulnerable People
10 May 2018
Volume 640
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8. What steps the CPS is taking to increase its effectiveness in prosecuting crimes involving the exploitation of vulnerable people by gangs. [905228]

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9. What steps the CPS is taking to increase its effectiveness in prosecuting crimes involving the exploitation of vulnerable people by gangs. [905229]

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The exploitation of vulnerable people to traffic drugs across the country through county lines activity is abhorrent, and the CPS does consider modern slavery legislation when it comes to relevant charging decisions.

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In Chichester, drug dealers are regularly taking over the homes of vulnerable people who suffer from mental health problems or from drug dependency themselves in a process known as cuckooing. Sussex police tell me that they struggle to identify the gang leaders who control the cuckoos as they are based outside the county. What steps is the CPS taking to prosecute those gang leaders effectively so that others are deterred from exploiting the most vulnerable in society?

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My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue of cuckooing and the need for local police forces such as Sussex to collaborate with other forces. A good example was a case last month in which two London-based gang members were convicted in Swansea Crown court of trafficking a teenage girl to the city to deal heroin and crack cocaine.

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Essex, being one of the home counties, suffers from the displacement effect of gang activity from London, and we have unfortunately seen pockets—it is only pockets at this stage—of violent gang activity in the county. What financial resources are the Government allocating to tackle serious gang violence?

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My hon. Friend has correctly characterised the nature of some of this gang offending. The Government’s serious violence strategy involves a new commitment of £40 million over two years, which includes £11 million for the early intervention youth fund and £3.6 million for the new national county lines co-ordination centre.

Royal Assent

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I have to notify the House, in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967, that the Queen has signified her Royal Assent to the following Acts and Measures:

Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act 2018

Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018

Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Act 2018

Statute Law (Repeals) Measure 2018

Pensions (Pre-consolidation) Measure 2018

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018

Mission and Pastoral etc. Amendment Measure 2018

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The hon. Gentleman wants more. I have news for the hon. Gentleman—he is going to get more. Maybe not much more, but a bit more:

Legislative Reform Measure 2018.