Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and Countylines

These are organised criminal networks and street gangs that move illegal drugs from cities to other parts of the UK.

How Child Criminal Exploitation Works.

This is done by exploiting children and vulnerable adults to move and store drugs, money and weapons through coercion, intimidation, and violence. Initially in Norfolk the drugs were mostly coming from Liverpool and London. However, as gangs have developed in Norfolk the problem is becoming more of homegrown issue.

Local gang’s now have direct connections with the suppliers. After peak periods of drug dealing activity, there are usually quiet times. 

The areas where the peak activity takes place may change location.

Gangs - Through the eyes of an adult.

What Is A Gang?

The word gang means different things in different contexts but is basically, a group of 3 or more individuals hanging around together, it is not illegal to be part of a gang.

However there are some gangs where people join together for the sole purpose of making trouble for others, whilst other gangs acting together for illegal profit.

Street gangs see themselves as a discernible group who crime and violence is integral to the groups identity. Gang membership can be linked to criminal activity like drug dealing, trafficking carrying weapons and violence.

Gangs In Norwich

Within Norfolk there are several known gangs that have been around years, and others that pop up and disappear.

The members of the well known gangs changes over the years, and members have been known to switch from one gang to the another.  Gang members may speak differently, have hand signs, clothes, graffiti, bandanas, and colours associated with the gang.

There are several gangs in Norwich that are rival to each other.

Gangs - We need to look through the eyes of a child

Why Do Children Join Gangs?

Adolescence seek independence, a life which their parents can’t see. Some young people are running away from home life, the changes in it or abuse, both physical and sexual.

Others can not cope with caring responsibilities that have fallen on them when a parent becomes ill. All situations which ideally should never happen.

There is an ever-growing group of children who are excluded from school, wandering about with no one to supervise them. They roam the streets and look for comfort and support where they can find it.

They have nowhere to go and no structure to their day, making them vulnerable to exploitation.

Some children are running towards what a gang has to offer, a place to belong and an identify. The internet, social media and music all influence children as it glorifies gang culture and luxurious lifestyle.

Push factors- the reasons that are pushing a child away from their home environment/carers include:

Pull factors- the reasons children are drawn towards risky situations and people:

Control factors - reasons that are stopping child from seeking help:

What Are The Perceived "Rewards"

Adults we see the hierarchical structure within a gang, the strongest and most ruthless at the top known as the’ olders’. The children or ‘youngers’ at the bottom, they get rewards for those who serve well and for loyalty.

Look through the eyes of the children, out on the streets is exciting. They get a heady and dangerous power when they have a knife strapped to their thigh.

They get praise and financial rewards when they do a job well, when no one else praises or rewards them. Most children know it is wrong, but do not understand the consequences or just don’t care because they want to belong.

They want to be part of something bigger than themselves, with a language and code of conduct of its own.

Norfolk Childrens Services have always thought that Joe was initially vulnerable and pushed into exploitation as he had several sporting opportunities and incidences at school when he was let down.

Joes life became a vicious cycle of physical and emotional abuse amongst the pull facts of money, lifestyle and adrenalin.

Serious Youth Violence (SYV)

SYV is on the increase in Norfolk. SYV is defined as any offence of the most serious violence or weapon enabled crime where the victim is aged 1-19.

This includes murder, manslaughter, rape, wounding with intent and causing grievous bodily harm. SYV often takes place when there are rival gangs competing for the same turf or druglines.

Since Joe’s murder in 2022, Norfolk Constabulary have set up their own team to tackle SYV in the region.