15th November 2018
Soaring numbers of incidents of children going missing from care to 70,250 last year are ‘truly shocking’, according to Ann Coffey MP.
Ms Coffey, who is the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, said the latest figures released today by the Department for Education on Looked after children in England were ‘grim’.
There were 70,250 incidents of children going missing from care in 2018 involving 11,530 individual children – up almost 10,000 from 60,870 incidents last year.
Significantly, nearly half of the incidents involved children in residential care, which includes children’s homes.
The numbers of missing incidents of children in care has risen massively by 145 per cent since 2015 when the figure was 28,700.
The BBCs Inside Out North West recently interviewed me following an investigation into county lines operations focusing on the shocking levels of violence and exploitation of children by criminal gangs.
In the clip below, I spoke about why we need to reassess how we view children who are criminally exploited by gangs. As well as myself, they talked to Merseyside Police, a former gang member who groomed children to sell drugs and a mother whose son was exploited by gangs.
The full programme is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for the next 27 days here.
Below is my interview with Radio 5 Live on June 28th 2018 about County Lines following ,Anne Longfield,the Children’s Commissioners report that 32,500 children aged ten-to-15 years old defined themselves as being in a gang.
I have previously raised my concerns in Parliament about vulnerable children being groomed by criminal gangs to sell and supply drugs in county lines operations by criminal gangs.
In December the All Party Parliamentary Group for runaway and missing children and adults heard that 80% of police forces had observed a rise in violent crime that was a result of the expansion of County Lines operations.