Suffolk criminal exploitation initiative extended after success


An additional £1.4million has been awarded to extend a successful initiative that supports young people in or at risk of criminal exploitation.

The Suffolk Against Gang Exploitation (SAGE) Team was established in 2018 as part of Suffolk’s three-year work programme to tackle gangs and county lines and is funded by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders.

During that time is has been delivering diversion, prevention, and early intervention work with young people in or at risk of gang violence and has also developed a practice framework, training courses and provided expertise and advice for practitioners across the county.

A recent evaluation of SAGE showed positive results for the young people they are working with including equipping them to make better choices in future, improved attendance & completion of interventions, deeper level of awareness and understanding amongst practitioners and reported improved mental wellbeing.

Building on this success, Suffolk Public Sector Leaders have pledged an additional £1.4million to tackle criminal exploitation in Suffolk. The new work programme will run from April 2021 until March 2024.

Councillor Paul West, Chair of the Safer Stronger Communities Board and Suffolk County Council Cabinet member for Communities, said:

“The work being done by the SAGE team is of great importance in the battle against the exploitation of young people in Suffolk. I am pleased with the additional funding and the support from all partners. We must stop at nothing to drive out exploitation of young people on our own doorsteps. We are building on some of the success and good practice already achieved but the funding allows us to move our work to the next level.”

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said:

“I was very pleased, as a member of the Suffolk Public Sectors Leaders group, to support this bid to continue funding the excellent work being carried out by the SAGE team. Preventing our young people being groomed by the gangs and criminals involved in the illegal drugs business is crucial to Suffolk’s future well-being. Helping young people make the right choices as they enter adulthood has a positive impact on us all.”