Fearless campaign stresses speaking up about crime

YOUNG people in Woking have been hearing about the danger of drugs and carrying weapons as part of a countywide awareness campaign.

Fearless.org – the youth service of independent charity Crimestoppers – has been highlighting the ways drug gangs can take advantage of young people through County Lines, where they sell drugs in new areas further afield. Using real-life case studies, the campaign showed how dealers can prey on the vulnerable and exploit them to carry drugs, often using threats of violence and illegal weapons.

Emily pictured talking to students from Winston Churchill school

Over the past few months there have been an average of 20 weapon offences committed by under 18s across Surrey. The charity is encouraging young people to speak about what they know by giving information online via Fearless.org.

“Having seen a number of worrying incidents recently in the county, we’re urging young people to tell our charity who they know or suspect is responsible for manufacturing or dealing drugs, or carrying weapons,” said Emily Drew, outreach worker for Fearless.

“We know from speaking to young people how it can be extremely difficult to come forward with information about crime, especially if it’s someone you know who has changed and has started carrying a knife, for example. Fear of revenge or cultural reasons often means that there is a reluctance to speak up.”

Earlier this month, she spoke to students outside Woking High, Bishop David Brown, St John the Baptist, Hoe Valley and Winston Churchill schools to raise awareness of the signs to spot of exploitation.

“It only takes a few minutes to complete our simple anonymous online form at Fearless.org and we guarantee you’ll stay 100% anonymous,” said Emily. “With Fearless.org you have options. Please let me assure you that our charity is only interested in what you have to say, not who you are. We can’t trace IP addresses or any contact details that could identify you. Nobody will ever know the information came from you.”

She said the charity was hoping to get more involved inside schools, and were offering free workshops and online virtual workshops that they could run for students.

“Drug dealers exploit the most vulnerable in our communities,” said David Munro, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner. “Crimestoppers’ Fearless service is an important way for young people who may be afraid of talking about what they know, to report crime anonymously and to learn to spot the warning signs of exploitation and criminal activity.

“I encourage anyone with information to help keep Surrey safe by reporting their suspicions either to the police on 101, 999 or anonymously at Fearless.org.”

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