Eyes Open

Eyes Open

Liverpool County FA Proudly Supporting Eyes Open

Liverpool County FA is delighted and proud to announce our support of Eyes Open – a campaign launched by Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership.

Eyes OpenThe campaign encourages members of the public to keep their eyes open to the signs of drug gangs grooming our county’s children – and if they see, hear or suspect anything to report in anonymously to Crimestoppers or to obtain advice from Childline.

As part of the campaign, members of the public can learn about the many signs of children being groomed, so that they can be made aware of the subject, which is prominent on Merseyside.

Second to London, Merseyside’s drug gangs are the second-biggest in terms of exploiting children. There is a rising number of children, from all backgrounds, being abused by local drug games in an attempt to disguise criminal activity. Children are chosen, as they’re easy to manipulate and less likely to be stopped by police, saving members of gangs the risk of being caught and convicted.

Preying on the desire for children to ‘belong’ and feel part of a unit, gangs exploit children whose desire means they’re likely to compromise their safety and wellbeing by selling drugs for a gang.

Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership is supported by numerous organisations, including Merseyside Police and is determined to educate people across the region to enable them the opportunity to ask for help if needed.

Members of the public can download an Eyes Open guide by clicking here

Superintendent Mark Wiggins, who heads up Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership said:

“It’s time we saw drug gangs for the abusers they are. Drug gangs are grooming kids in Merseyside every day. Grown men, and sometimes women, are grooming vulnerable kids who come from all sorts of backgrounds. They are coercing them to sell drugs, to be on the end of a phone line 24 hours a day to deliver drug orders, to store firearms and weapons, and to invade vulnerable people’s homes often hundreds of miles away from their homes to help the gangs make money.

“Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership, in conjunction with a number of key partners such as Merseyside Police, local authorities and schools, are asking everyone, whether a parent or not, to step up and know what the signs of grooming are. The ‘EYES OPEN’ campaign lists the signs of grooming so everyone can start to look out for the abuse and report it anonymously to Crimestoppers. We have also produced a booklet for schools to help kids understand what to look for. This depraved criminal behaviour has to stop.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy added:

“I welcome this hard-hitting campaign – the first by Merseyside’s Violence Reduction Partnership - because it is designed to increase awareness of the criminal abuse of our children. Very often we do not notice or recognise the warning signs when a young person is being groomed for exploitation and even when we are worried we don’t know what to do. We need the public’s help if we are to prevent young people falling prey to the criminal gangs and I hope this campaign will enlighten and educate us all.”

Dave Pugh, Chief Executive Officer at Liverpool County FA, said: “Liverpool County FA is proud to support Eyes Open and will be doing what we can to help educate people across Merseyside. Within the region, we have a vast number of children that play recreational football for clubs and leagues – and hopefully this platform, with access to parents/carers and players alike, will enable us to highlight the signs of children being exploited by drug gangs and whose safety and wellbeing is being put at risk.”

For more information on Eyes Open, please visit eyes-open.co.uk