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London local authorities have reported a 300% rise in ‘cuckooing’, noting 316 cases in the capital alone.
What is ‘cuckooing’?
Cuckooing is when a group of people invade a vulnerable person’s house to carry out a drug operation. It derives from cuckoos who take over the nests of other birds.
The rising figures for instances of this crime (up from 79 in 2018) were cited in a report published by London Assembly Labout Police.
London Labour requested this data in a bid to reduce the number of cases flying under the radar due to not being recorded correctly.
What changes are being made?
Met Police said they are working hard to crack down on cuckooing, with efforts to improve guidance for officers and how Safer Neighbourhood Team officers can help with regular visits to vulnerable homes.
We have also seen increased efforts to educate the capital’s youth about the risks associated with joining gangs and getting involved with drugs.
London Assembly Labour’s Police and Crime spokesperson, Unmesh Desai said: “Cuckooing is a terrible crime which harms some of the most vulnerable in our society. Having your home taken over by criminals is traumatic and the anti-social behaviour carried out at the property creates chaos for neighbouring households.
“This report shows recorded cases of cuckooing are on the rise. But we still do not know the true scale of the problem with some councils not yet recording data. Too often cuckooing is hidden in plain sight and without knowing the true picture, we cannot put the most effective plans in place to tackle this crime and support victims.
“That’s why I’m calling for a public awareness campaign so people can spot the signs.
“I found some councils are already working closely with the police – so it can be done – but we need a more consistent approach so all victims of cuckooing receive the help they need regardless of where they live. We need better guidance from the government to make this happen.”