Hertfordshire to launch cuckooing awareness campaign
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Hertfordshire Constabulary is working with partner organisations across the county to help raise awareness of ‘cuckooing’.
Cuckooing is where criminals groom a vulnerable person in order to take over their home and use it as a base for their activities.
As part of this work a public survey is being conducted to gauge current levels of understanding within the community and whether people would be able to spot the signs of cuckooing if it were happening in their street.
Hertfordshire residents are asked to complete this survey to help prevent and detect cuckooing of vulnerable people in the county.
Liz Hanlon, Independent chair of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board, said: “Reports of cuckooing in Hertfordshire are relatively low compared to other parts of the UK, but it is likely that many offences are going unreported. This type of exploitation is difficult for police and other agencies to detect but could be quite obvious to those living close to a cuckooed property, if they knew what signs to look out for.
“Cuckooing has serious consequences for victims and the local area surrounding a cuckooed address. Criminal gangs exploit mainly vulnerable people, usually those who are young, elderly, disabled or have drug or financial problems. Victims often suffer violence or sexual abuse and those living nearby feel the effects of criminal and anti-social behaviour in the community.
“There are some clear signs that a neighbour or a property in your area may be being exploited, which we are sharing in the hope that we can prevent more victims suffering this form of abuse.”
Spot the signs of cuckooing:
An increase in the number of visitors to the property through the day and night, often visiting for only short periods of time.
An increased number of vehicles outside the property including taxis or hire cars.
The usual occupier of the property having new associates staying and bags of clothing and / or extra bedding in the property.
The occupier moving out or staying away from the property whilst an unknown person remains.
Evidence of drug use such as discarded syringes, foil and cling film in and around the property and evidence of drug dealing such as scales and deal bags.
An increase in local crime and anti-social behaviour, including the accumulation and storage of stolen pedal cycles.
Victims of cuckooing may disengage from support services and be unwilling to discuss what is happening at their property when the subject is raised with them.
Individuals with large amounts of cash or multiple mobile phones.
Excessive receipt of texts/phone calls.
Leaving a care placement without any explanation.
Suspicion of physical assault/unexplained injuries.