West Berkshire Council

New short film tackles exploitation and radicalisation

A new teaching resource has been developed to help keep young people safe from sexual exploitation and radicalisation.

Recognise DVD Cover

A new teaching resource to help keep young people safe from sexual exploitation and radicalisation has been developed by West Berkshire's Safer Communities Partnership.

The new teaching package, called Recognise, aims to help young people recognise the signs of exploitation in themselves and their friends. It includes a new short film, shot in the Newbury area, which follows the stories of Rob and Emma, two ordinary people living ordinary lives. Throughout their story there are subtle changes in their behaviour which could be linked to radicalisation, exploitation or other hidden crime issues.

Through the film young people are told that what while 'it might be nothing it could be something' and encourages them to notice any change, check their information and share their concerns with others.

The film will be shown in schools across the district with teachers given a handbook to help facilitate group discussions in order to explore key themes.

Speaking about the new teaching package Councillor Marcus Franks, Executive Member for Community Safety said: "This film empowers our young people to keep themselves and their friends safe by knowing how to recognise signs of exploitation. Through the film they get to see a different perspective and can reflect on behaviours they might see in their own life and how it might be part of a bigger picture. It's an excellent resource and I welcome it being rolled out across the district."

PC Tim Emery from Thames Valley Police added: "West Berkshire has a very low threat level in terms of radicalisation and online grooming, but that doesn't mean we should be complacent. 

"Children can be exposed to a lot of different ideas and images online, and so Thames Valley Police works closely with students and teachers to raise awareness of this, and to make sure that they understand what to do and who to speak to if they see something that upsets them."

The teaching package, produced thanks to £10,000 funding from the Home Office, started being distributed to schools earlier this month.

The film was shot in part at St Bartholomew's School in Newbury. Talking about the importance of the issue the school's Deputy Headteacher Maureen Sims said: "We were delighted to be able to support the production of this DVD. Keeping young people safe in today's society has to be a team effort. The subtle signs of sexual exploitation and radicalisation must be known to young people. Having this excellent resource to support the work of all schools in this area, is much appreciated"

The Safer Communities Partnership aims to strengthen the community and create a safe and healthy environment, by working with other partner agencies to protect the community and ensure that those who live and work in West Berkshire feel safe. It includes West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Police, Thames Valley Probation Service, Community Rehabilitation Company, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Housing Associations and schools.

If you're concerned about someone you should contact the police on 999 if they are in imminent danger or otherwise call the non-emergency number on 101.

In this video you can hear Councillors Lynne Doherty, Marcus Franks and Hilary Cole talking about Recognise and why it's so important to them.