Cambridgeshire Constabulary has nominated several teams for policing awards for their work in protecting the vulnerable people of the communities they serve.

The various teams were given the good news on September 21 at the 2022 ‘One More Step’ Prevention Awards.

The event recognises excellent prevention and problem-solving work by the police and partner agencies.

The five award finalists confirmed from the nine nominations are the:

  • Intelligence and Specialist Crime Department (ISCD) for their work with regional and national partners against county lines drug dealing and child criminal exploitation.

  • Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) – for their work tackling illegal hare coursing within the east of England, predominantly Fenland, alongside associated criminal offences and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

  • St Neots Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) – for their work to tackle a county line whose nominals were exploiting a vulnerable man in Eaton Socon.

  • Peterborough’s Eastern NPT – for their work in identifying an extremely vulnerable man who was being exploited at his home in Dogsthorpe.

  • Peterborough’s Eastern NPT – for the leading role they took to ensure a joined-up approach to safeguard a vulnerable woman who was being exploited at her home in Eastfield.

By the end of the night, Peterborough was announced as the winners.

The ISCD linked with other police forces and partner agencies to target higher-harm nominals in county lines drug dealing.

They set up new processes, training, a dedicated intelligence desk and a lawyer within the CPS to assist with investigations.

The improvement in intelligence led to more offenders identified as “line holders” and them being charged with more serious crimes such as modern slavery offences.

To date, more than 40 “line holders” have been arrested, charged and either convicted or are on remand in prison awaiting trial.

From 2020 to 2021, RCAT took a harder stance against hare coursers and incidents of coursing, assaults and harassment of farmers and damage to their property reported to police reduced by 18 percent.

They started issuing hare coursing specific Community Protection Warnings, Community Protection Notices and Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs), as well as dispersal orders and other criminal proceedings.

The process was adopted on a regional scale across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent.

During the 2021 to 2022 season, there was a reduction of incidents across the region by 31 per cent and 47 per cent in Cambridgeshire.

St Neots NPT identified an individual who was subjected to modern day slavery, including coercion, intimidation and violence by a county lines group.

Joint visits by the NPT and Chorus Homes housing provider identified that drug and alcohol Liaison and Diversion Services (LaDS) were crucial in supporting him.

After building up trust, confidence and gathering intelligence, the NPT carried out a warrant at the man’s home when the offenders were likely to be there.

This resulted in the county lines group being charged and convicted of various offences.

Peterborough’s Eastern NPT was also noted for two instances of identifying victims of cuckooing.

Partner agencies put plans together to improve their quality of life and safeguard the victims against the “fake friends” exploiting them.

Police received positive reports from neighbours regarding the flat of one victim and zero calls for service regarding the man being exploited.

In regards to the other victim, calls reduced to zero and there is no evidence the problem had travelled elsewhere .

Assistant Chief Constable Vicki Evans said: “The standards of nominations was particularly high this year, all finalists demonstrated excellent prevention and problem-solving work across a broad multi-agency and partnership arena.

“We saw examples of individuals and teams taking ‘one more step’ and going the extra mile, to understand the bigger picture to prevent further harm, reduce the number of victims and keep the people of Cambridgeshire safe."

Ms Evans added: “The winner is Peterborough’s Eastern NPT for their work to safeguard a victim of cuckooing in Dogsthorpe.

“The submission showed great innovation, persistence and flexibility to changing circumstances.”

All finalists will now be nominated for the 2023 Tilley National Problem-Solving Awards.