A new £1.4million fund to tackle criminal exploitation in Suffolk has been announced by a group of councillors and senior members of the police.

The fund will go toward fighting crimes involving drugs, violence, modern slavery, missing persons, and 'home-grown' drug dealing.

The group called Suffolk Public Sector Leaders includes senior local politicians along with the police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore and the Chief Constable who have unanimously agreed to award the Safer Stronger Communities Board funds to continue work which tackles exploitation.

These funds bring together the resource needed to prevent young and vulnerable people from being drawn into criminal exploitation, support those already entangled to exit safely, as well as enforce a zero-tolerance policy against those committing associated crimes.

This funding will help join up efforts across multiple organisations.

Chair of Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Neil MacDonald said: “The Criminal Exploitation in Suffolk, the Safer Stronger Communities Board  continue to work tirelessly to create safe environments for everyone in Suffolk.

With the current programme coming to an end in March 2024, this next round of funding will support an extension of efforts through to 2027, which is essential to build on the great work that has already been delivered.”

Suffolk County Council cabinet member for equality and communities Bobby Bennett said: “The £1.4m investment agreed by Suffolk Public Sector Leaders will support a countywide programme of work to tackle criminal exploitation across Suffolk. 

“Criminal Exploitation is a complex and serious issue that is not unique to Suffolk and sadly it remains a constant threat to our young people, our vulnerable adults, and our communities.”