Video bid to stop vulnerable being tricked by County Lines criminals

Tricky Friends

A still from the Tricky Friends video. - Credit: Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board

Action is being taken to try to stop criminals, including County Lines drug dealers, from exploiting some of Norfolk's most vulnerable people.

A new video has been produced to help people with learning disabilities and autism understand the differences between good friendships and those which might be harmful.

Tricky Friends

The new Tricky Friends cartoon emphasises the difference between good friendships and bad ones. - Credit: Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board

Commissioned by Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB), the animated 'Tricky Friends' video gets across messages about County Lines, exploitation and cuckooing.

County Lines are where drugs gangs set up distribution networks into a provincial towns or cities, often using children and vulnerable people as runners.

Cuckooing is a practice in which drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person in order to use it as a base for county lines drug dealing.

Tricky Friends

The new Tricky Friends video aims to stop vulnerable people being exploited. - Credit: Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board

NSAB hope 'Tricky Friends' will be used to help people to think about the issues, to start conversations with their genuine friends, and to keep them safer while enjoying friendships.

Heather Roach, the recently appointed new chair of the county's safeguarding adults board, said: "Over the last few years, NSAB has had a number of discussions with groups and organisations in Norfolk who support people with learning disabilities and autism, about how to raise awareness of issues like exploitation, County Lines and cuckooing.

“It is important that people with learning disabilities and autism, those who have cognitive difficulties, and also children and young adults, have positive opportunities to make and maintain friendships.

"We want to help them to do this, to reduce the risk of harm and exploitation in groups who may be less able to recognise the intentions of others.” 

Tricky Friends video

People at the Independence Matters community hub in Dereham watch the Tricky Friends video. - Credit: Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board

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Ryan Hardy, a member of the Norfolk All-age Autism Partnership, welcomed the video.

He said: “I believe this video is a great step in the right direction of enabling autistic people to have a voice and for those who are most vulnerable to know when to speak out.

"There is so much to learn and be aware of, this video has the potential to bring about some real good.”

Tricky Friends

Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board - Credit: Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board

The video, launched at the Independence Matters Community Hub in Dereham, is on the NSAB website at www.norfolksafeguardingadultsboard.info/about-us/current-campaigns/tricky-friends-animation/

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