AN ambitious campaign has been launched to help stop the spread of drug gangs in Redditch.
Spearheaded by Redditch Self-Defence Association (RDA), and funded by West Mercia Police, the project will see vulnerable children offered 1-to-1 support and advice.
The aim is to help young people at risk of being victimised by County Lines drug gangs.
Pete Martin, who runs RDA in Windsor Road, said: “It means police, teachers and care workers can refer youngsters who are in danger of getting involved in this type of crime.
“We want to improve youth engagement in Redditch, reduce anti-social behaviour and educate young people on the dangers of knife crime and County Lines drug gangs.”
County Lines refers to gangs and organised crime networks exploiting children to courier and sell drugs.
They are often forced to travel to different counties to sell the narcotics.
As well as running the free sessions out of its Windsor Road HQ, RDA also operates at Redditch Boxing Academy.
The emphasis of the sessions is to recognise potential abuse or an attack before it takes place.
Self-defence techniques are taught but avoidance is always promoted.
Inspector Lee Page of Redditch Safer Neighbourhood Teams recently saw one of the sessions in action.
He said: “Without these programmes young people can become vulnerable to being lured into various forms of criminality.
“Youth activities play an important role in the delivery of positive messages and safeguarding measures to young people and their parents.”
Visit http://www.redditchselfdefence.co.uk for more information.