A project that aims to divert young people away from a life in organised crime has been launched in Dundee.
Action for Children’s Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention service has been running in Glasgow since 2013 and, the success from the programme has resulted in it being launched in Cardiff, Newcastle, and Edinburgh.
The project, funded by £4.6m from The National Lottery Community Fund, will now support young people in Dundee on the cusp of organised crime.
Support in the services will offer help in the form of ‘peer mentors’ – former young offenders with experience of serious organised crime.
Creator Paul Carberry says that the project is helping to “turn lives around”.
He said: “In my 28 years at Action for Children Scotland, I have witnessed the impact of serious organised crime.
“I have seen families destroyed by substance abuse, parents indebted to loan sharks and housing schemes controlled by career criminals.
“This is largely hidden from mainstream society while having a disproportionately high impact on the most disadvantaged, marginalised communities in our country.
“Many of these young people are heavily embedded in organised crime and have grown up in families where organised crime has been a generational thing.
“The success of our programme across the UK illustrates the effectiveness of our proactive action to help tackle this harmful social problem, which has a significant cost implication.
“This service is turning lives around and having a long-term impact on communities across the UK. We can all be very proud of this Scottish success story and Action for Children is resolutely committed to continuing to this progress.”
Chief superintendent Phil Davison, Tayside divisional commander, said: “Police Scotland is committed to working in partnership to target criminals and groups who endeavour to exploit the most vulnerable members of our communities.
“Helping to divert young people from becoming involved into these nefarious activities remains a priority for our officers.
“The roll-out of Action for Children’s proven initiative in Dundee is a positive step in helping to ensure we collectively safeguard individuals who may be at risk.”
Kate Still, Scotland chair, The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The Serious Organised Crime Early Intervention service is a great example of a successful peer mentoring model which began in Scotland and is now being replicated in other areas of the UK, thanks to £4.6m of National Lottery funding.
“I’m delighted that Dundee is one of the places that will be able to benefit from this expansion which will give many more young people the opportunity to make positive life changing choices.”