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?
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.
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?
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.
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