Officers from Preston’s neighbourhood team were joined by colleagues and partners in a day of action to tackle cuckooing in Preston.Advertisement
The Community Safety Team, Lancashire Fire & Rescue, Community Gateway, Lancashire County Council’s safe-guarding team, Inspire – Preston’s Drug and Alcohol Service and the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire all participated.
Cuckooing is where criminals take over a person’s home and use the property to facilitate exploitation.
The exploitation can take place in many forms such as sex work or taking over the property as a place to live, however the main issue revolves around drug dealers taking over an address to store and distribute drugs from.
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Contrary to popular belief, drug dealing doesn’t mean a glamorous lifestyle, vulnerable people may be verbally or physically threatened if they do not allow dealers access to their property.
The victims are usually vulnerable or isolated, making them more susceptible to being groomed and can be of all ages and genders and they may not in any position to report any incidents.
Once an offender has established a relationship with a victim whether that be through drug dependency or debt or emotional relationship then other offenders will then utilise the address.
If drugs are found, there is a risk of being interviewed and/or arrested and charged for alleged involvement. The resident could also lose access to any benefits or be evicted by their housing provider.
The property could also be a subject to a closure order, which means no one would be allowed entry for up to six months.
On the day of action, the team visited local housing areas in Preston, where they believe cuckooing is taking place, to check on residents and offer multi agency support to the vulnerable victims in order to better safeguard them and give them the best opportunity of breaking that cycle.
Insp Jon Cisco of the Community Safety Team said: “This type of criminal and antisocial behaviour not only puts vulnerable individuals at risk, but also causes disruption to the wider local communities and seriously affects their quality of life. All the partners involved in this, and future operations are committed to safeguarding victims and wider community reassurance.”
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Andrew Snowden, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I am really impressed with the dedication of officers and colleagues from partner agencies to disrupt the exploitation of vulnerable adults and to bring those responsible to justice.
“The benefit of me joining these types of operation is that I can speak directly to officers, understand the challenges they face and find out what I can do to support them in my role as Police and Crime Commissioner.
“Being visible, speaking to people at the front line and working closely with the Constabulary and other partners are key elements of delivering on my number one priority, leading the fight against crime, and I will continue to follow those principles.”
Operation Jackal has been running for several months. If anyone has any information you can email direct to firstname.lastname@example.org
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